It is far from uncommon to divulge in a frosty beer on a hot summer’s day, sip on a glass of red wine with dinner (for the antioxidants, of course!) or splurge on cocktails for a friend’s birthday function. Usually we are told that, in moderation, a serving of alcohol here and there won’t do us too much harm.
Different research says different things about alcohol consumption, usually taking a side on the ongoing debate between its positive and negative effects on the human body and mind. However, one thing just about every scientist, physician, and parent will tell you is that binge drinking does us no good.
We have made a list of a handful of effects excessive alcohol consumption has on your eyesight in the immediate time period after its intake:
- blurry, distorted vision
- Double vision
- Decreased peripheral vision
- Delayed reaction due to weakened vision
- Slow pupil dilations (this means slower reactions when driving, and a lesser ability to adapt to oncoming headlights)
- Decreased contrast sensitivity
So, if the sound of short-term detrimental impacts on your vision isn’t enough to scare you away from binge-drinking, let’s have a look at some of the long-term effects it can have on your eyes!
The AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) – 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that people aged 18-24 years had the heaviest drinking patterns, with “almost two-thirds drinking at a risky or high-risk level for harm in the short-term”. It is no secret Australia has an extensive drinking culture – especially amongst our youths – with the expression ‘blind drunk’ an accurate description of the state of thousands of Australians who attend nightclubs, house parties or other social gatherings of a Saturday night.
Whilst this is culturally and socially problematic in itself, ‘blind drunk’ is also portentous of the impact excessive alcohol could be having on our vision.
A possibly toxic reaction between alcohol and the eye could be a catalyst for optic nerve damage, and long-term poor vision. The permanent loss of vision due to alcohol consumption is called toxic amblyopia. According to the recent researches; between 14 and 66 per cent of ocular diseases of ocular trauma can be attributed to alcohol consumption.
Of course, these researches – generally speaking – relates to excessive alcohol consumption. There are no exact figures on what constitutes excessiveness, or ‘binge drinking’, as individuals’ tolerance levels vary greatly.