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Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Eyes

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Effects of Alcohol Addiction on Your Eyes

Alcohol addiction has effects on your overall health. Those who struggle with alcohol abuse are familiar with the effects drinking has on their eyes, their brains, and overall health. Itchiness, redness, and dryness, are some of the most common effects alcohol can have on our eyes.

Alcohol affects the brain directly, which is why alcohol addiction often leads to neurological disruptions which can go from trouble walking to blindness. It is said that alcohol weakens the muscles in your eyes and can, in fact, permanently impair your optic nerves, which result in involuntary back and forth of eye movement, rapid eye movement, and even permanent blindness.

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Short-term Effects

Consuming alcohol in moderation can immediately cause dizziness and blurry vision, depending on your alcohol levels. However, these effects are temporary and will not harm your eyesight in the long term.

These effects are caused mainly by the lack of coordination between your eye muscles. And, in the short-term, most people who struggle with alcohol abuse can expect to experience tunnel vision, which is basically the decreased sensitivity of your peripheral vision. This means you do not register things out of your primary field of view. Most people also experience dry eyes and constant redness.

Alcohol can also affect your ability to see the contrast in colors. This means you will have difficulty distinguishing between similar shades of color. Another common effect alcohol has on your eyesight, is double vision. This is caused because alcohol slows down the communication and responsiveness of your eyes and your brain, which decreases the reaction time of your pupils, causing color change and double vision.

Alcohol abuse in the short term can cause decreased visual acuity, which means you are not able to see objects in full contrast and sharpness. This is one of the reasons alcohol and driving do not go together, besides the actual lack of judgment and lack of sensitivity or control.

Long-term Effects

First of all, chronic alcohol abuse or long-term alcohol abuse can result in malnutrition, as well as possibly be the first stepping stone for liver failure and other health conditions. As far as your eyes, alcohol abuse can have significant, permanent effects.

Alcohol addiction can cause optic neuropathy, which can lead to vision loss, decreased peripheral vision, and difficulty seeing colors. It can also lead to damages to the cornea, which results in blurred or cloudy vision.

Also, because alcohol abuse can cause malnutrition, this means your eyes do not have the necessary vitamins needed to function properly, such as vitamin A. The lack of minerals and vitamins can eventually lead to night blindness.

In the long run, alcohol abuse can contribute to migraines and headaches because your eyes become more sensitive to light. Another way to notice the effects of alcohol abuse on your eye – and perhaps the most particular eye problem of lifelong alcohol drinkers – is the well-known bloodshot eyes. This occurs because alcohol dilates ocular blood vessels, making them look larger and give your eyes a characteristic reddish color.

As if short-term effects are not dangerous enough, long-term alcohol abuse can also lead to different visual conditions, such as:

  • Blindness – caused by irreparably optic nerve damage
  • Cataracts – caused by proteins in your eyes that turn opaque due to alcohol
  • AMD – causes corrosion of your central vision
  • Dyschromatopsia – causes dulled perception of colors and can progress to total blindness

How to Avoid Alcohol-Related Eye Complications


The most common approach would be to stop drinking. But when alcohol becomes an addiction, that’s something that is easier said than done. Many people find comfort in recovery homes, support groups, or AA meetings. Many places provide emotional, physical, and physiological support for those struggling with alcohol abuse.

If you consider yourself a heavier drinker or are a recovering alcoholic drinker, it is time to control your drinking habits, not only for your eyes, but also for your overall health. Substance abuse treatment has been proven effective countless times by many different users.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, substance dependence or addiction, please call us at 1-877-380-9777. Our counselors can help you with the physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

Substance abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many women reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full-service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

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