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This is National Drug and Alcohol facts week (January 22nd to 27th), and it is important to learn what alcohol can do to the eyes.

Heavy consumption of alcohol has short term and long term effects. In the short term, it affects peripheral vision, slows down pupil reaction, causes blurred or double vision, red eyes, and migraines, and decreases contrast sensitivity, to name a few.

The long-term effects include age-related macular degeneration, alcohol maculopathy, toxic amblyopia, optic neuropathy, cataract formation, vitamin deficiency, etc. Drinking during pregnancy causes a lot of problems for the baby including prenatal alcohol exposure which can permanently affect the baby’s eyesight. When pregnant, there is no safe amount of alcohol recommended.

If you are a heavy drinker and wish to reduce your intake, here are some tips to help save your eyesight.

  • Never take alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Learn to pace yourself. Don’t take more than a bottle of beer or a glass of spirit within an hour.
  • Take water intermittently to help reduce the effects of the drink.
  • Consume foods that help keep your eyes healthy.
  • Consciously give yourself a limit and stick to it. Moderate alcohol consumption is having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men but not over several days

Drinking in moderation will not affect the eyes or body, so learning to drink responsibly will help you enjoy your life and health. But remember that occasional drinking can quickly spiral into a habit. A person is most affected by the quantity of alcohol consumed rather than by the type of drink. Understand that everyone’s body tolerance is different and know your own. So enjoy a glass on a special occasion, but take care of your body and schedule an eye examination with us to stay on top of your game.