The Effects of Drinking Alcohol On Your Eyes

Everyone who has too much to drink knows that being a little tipsy can cause blurry vision, but is that where the effects stop? What does drinking alcohol really do to your eyes? Can it do more than just give you blurry, unfocused vision? Can it permanently damage your eyes?

Well, before you get too scared, everything in moderation. Drinking alcohol occasionally in moderation is not shown to have any serious consequences when it comes to your eye health, but there are some things that you should consider.

Short-Term Vision-Altering Effects

What is exactly going on with your eyes in the short term after you have a few drinks? First off, you have slower pupil reaction. It takes longer for you react to an object that enters your field of view. This means it takes you longer to look at something once your brain has decided it wants to look at it. Also, intoxication causes your eye to expand and contract at a much slower speed. These two short-term effects alone are enough to validate the fact that nobody should be driving while intoxicated.

People who are only slightly intoxicated are estimated to have a 30% reduction in their ability to perceive contrast, that is, a distinction between objects based on light and dark. That’s quite a bit for being just a little tipsy! Especially when driving at night and there are a lot of dark spots and bright lights to guide you home.

Long-Term effects

Increased alcohol consumption can cause serious long-term effects as well. Take a look at just a few of them:

  • Increased Cataract Development – Studies have shown that people who consume more alcohol on average develop more cataracts.
  • Increased AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) – People with excessive alcohol consumption are at a significantly higher risk for AMD.