How Alcohol and Drugs Can Affect Vision and the Eyes Leave a comment

When you drink alcohol, your vision may change in various ways during and shortly after drinking. For example, researchers found that people who have been drinking are likely to rate images as more attractive, widely known as the “beer goggles” effect. Drinking alcohol will slow down reactions and therefore reflexes will be slower, this is one of the main reasons why it’s dangerous and illegal to drink and drive. This slow reaction also affects your vision, with a slower pupil reaction, making it more difficult to clearly distinguish between different objects based on lightness and darkness. This is because alcohol dilates the small blood vessels in your eyes. Our experienced staff at The Woods at Parkside has been delivering evidence-based addiction treatment for over 20 years. Treatment with us starts with detox, where you can safely withdraw from alcohol and other drugs in a supervised setting.

can alcohol cause blurry vision

This directly affects the way the eyes detect contrast between different shades and colors. Essentially, excessive alcohol consumption can affect vision by reducing one’s ability to see colors while intoxicated. Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows down the central nervous system and makes people feel relaxed. When intoxicated, alcohol also slows down the rate at which neurotransmitters operate in the brain. As a result, information is not passed between the eyes and the brain as quickly as it usually is when a person is sober. This delayed response leads to slowed eye-muscle coordination, causing people who are under the influence of alcohol to experience blurry vision or double vision.

How Alcohol Affects The Eyes

While having a glass of wine or drinking a beer every once in a while won’t have any lasting side effects, occasional drinking can slowly become a terrible habit. It’s when a person begins drinking excessively that they’re most vulnerable to problems with their physical health, including eyesight issues. You may have had the experience of having too much to drink one night, maybe at a party or celebration; things begin to get blurry as the alcohol affects your brain and vision. This usually goes away after a short time and is temporary, along with a hangover and headache.

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These cataracts may also be due to certain conditions, such as myotonic dystrophy, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2 or rubella. Congenital cataracts don’t always affect vision, but if they do, they’re usually removed soon after detection. A nuclear cataract may at first cause more nearsightedness or even a temporary improvement in your reading vision. But with time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow and further clouds your vision. The lens focuses light that passes into your eye, producing clear, sharp images on the retina — the light-sensitive membrane in the eye that functions like the film in a camera. Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up the eye’s lens. Proteins and fibers in the lens begin to break down, causing vision to become hazy or cloudy.

Six Ways that Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Eyes

The pupils will take a little more time to get back to normal. Expect slow pupil reaction time for up to 24 hours after your bout of excessive drinking. When someone spends a night drinking too much, the alcohol blurred vision brain has trouble communicating with every part of the body including the eyes. The images being sent from the brain to the eyes are not being interpreted correctly or take a longer time to process.

can alcohol cause blurry vision

You may be aware that excessive alcohol use damages your body. Often when a person suffers from alcohol addiction, they have “alcoholic eyes.” The term refers to the harmful effects excessive alcohol consumption has on a person’s eyes and vision. However, binge drinking and long-term alcohol abuse can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. Alcohol consumption can cause early onset of age-related macular degeneration .

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

Heavy drinking also increases the chances of cataract formation, and the risk of optic neuropathy, or vision loss. Excessive drinking also affects the body’s absorption of vitamins, which can adversely affect the eyes.

can alcohol cause blurry vision

Prolonged alcohol abuse will eventually affect your vision through vitamin deficiency. The liver can only process so much alcohol at a time and heavy drinking can affect the absorption of vitamins in the liver which are needed to maintain healthy eyes and good vision. Alcohol also affects the skin, brain, heart, and organs, and the severity of these conditions can range from acute to chronic. In addition to physical repercussions, people with alcoholism may also experience relationship, financial, and work or school-related struggles. The longer you avoid getting help for alcoholism, the more likely you are to suffer physically and mentally.

Alcohol and macular degeneration

This can make driving very difficult since you can’t react well to headlights. Your overall visual performance may be altered since drinking heavily impairs brain function. They may also be able to point you to resources to help you cut back or quit drinking to help you improve the health of your eyes and your overall well-being. Drinking large amounts of alcohol may temporarily but significantly increase the size of your pupils, though effects can vary from person to person.

Does quitting drinking improve eyesight?

For example, after just 24 hours of no alcohol, your blood sugar levels will normalise and blurred vision caused by alcohol intake will disappear. “The longer you abstain you may also notice your eyes become brighter and whiter, as your body counteracts damage/yellowing of the sclera – the white part of your eye.

It may contribute to nitric oxide-related abnormalities of autoregulation of the choroidal blood vessels. Altered regulation of the choroidal blood flow can increase the permeability of the vasculature as well as accumulation and leakage of the fluid.

Blurred vision typically occurs at 0.10% blood alcohol level. The number of drinks it takes to get to that level varies based on sex, weight and other factors. For example, it may only take two drinks in an hour for a 100-pound woman to experience blurred vision or up to five drinks in an hour for a 240-pound man. Alcohol can cause dilated pupils, but at a different rate than other drugs. When people drink alcohol, their pupils dilate slower than they usually do, which can cause blurred vision or tunnel vision.

  • Many studies have concluded that alcohol consumption can worsen the signs and symptoms of DED.
  • Often when a person suffers from alcohol addiction, they have “alcoholic eyes.” The term refers to the harmful effects excessive alcohol consumption has on a person’s eyes and vision.
  • A hole in the retina is a small opening that forms in the light-sensitive part of the eye.
  • Blurry vision occurs because the eye muscles cannot work together.
  • You can get permanently blurred vision or even double vision.
  • Do not function well as drinking alcohol slows the response of pupil dilation.

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