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Freshers warning: here’s why drinking too much may damage your eyes

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22
Sep
2017

When people look back at their student days they will often say it was a bit of a blur, often a result of excessive drinking.

The famous freshers week filled with freebies, cheap wine, and late nights not only damaged our livers, but may have well taken it’s toll on our eyesight.

So, what does alcohol do to our vision?

We’ve all been there and had a killer hangover. How many people are willing to own up to slightly blurry, distorted vision too? (Guilty!)

The reality is, there are also long term effects that we need to consider which come from excess drinking, such as the toll it will take on our eyes.

So what actually happens to our eyes when we have one too many glasses of wine, that extra cocktail or beer as the barman rings the bell for the last orders?  Your Sight Matters have pointed out four problems that happen to your vision whilst under the influence of alcohol:

  • Muscle weakness:  Alcohol can weaken the muscles in your eyes and can even permanently damage the optic nerve, which is the part that carries the vision from the eyes to the brain.  Not only this but alcohol abuse over a long period of time can cause involuntary rapid eye movement back and forth.  
  • Neurological disruptions: Whilst we think our eyes are doing the seeing it is actually our brain that is making this happen.  The communication between the eyes and the brain is slowed down when alcohol is consumed.  This can cause double vision, impair the ability to see colour shades and decrease reaction time of our pupils.
  • Unsightly appearance: Alcohol dilates ocular blood vessels, making them look larger, giving the eyes a reddish colour – this is commonly known as bloodshot eyes and can be a telling sign of a heavy drinker.
  • Sharp pain: It is not a secret that headaches and alcohol are associated with one another.  However the reasons for this are that alcohol can make the eyes extremely sensitive to light, which can then cause migraine headaches.

So as the university year kicks off, it is important to keep an eye on your alcohol consumption, pun intended.  Whilst our reactions to alcohol can be extremely varied, it is worth considering the recommended units of alcohol:

Men:  It is advised to have no more than 4 units in one day and 21 units per week

Women:  It is advised to have no more than 3 units a day and 14 units per week

As a final tip to students, make sure you take that free slice of pizza if you are planning a big night out.

Sources

http://yoursightmatters.com/alcohol-and-your-eyesight-4-ways-excessive-drinking-can-affect-your-vision/

By: David

If you are interested in vision correction at Focus Clinic please call us on 0207 307 8250 and book a free consultation.

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Surgeon David Allamby FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth
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