The occasional glass of red wine might provide some health benefits due to the antioxidants, but drinking any kind of alcohol in excess can have both short and long-term consequences. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is comprised of the spinal cord and brain, and it ultimately controls all other bodily functions and organ systems. That means anything that affects the CNS as a whole will also affect every other organ in some capacity. Below, an eye doctor from Wing Eyecare in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky explains how alcohol affects the eyes in particular.
If you’ve ever had too much to drink, you are probably familiar with some of the short-term effects of alcohol. For example, one of the most common side effects of drinking is poor night vision. When you consume an excessive amount of alcohol, the ethanol can eventually enter the tear-film covering the surface of the eye, which can result in blurred vision, especially in dim light. Additionally, because alcohol acts as a diuretic, it forces the kidneys to work harder and expel more fluid than normal. This can lead to dehydration, which will worsen dry eyes for those who suffer from it.
The body is incredibly resilient, and consuming an excessive amount of alcohol once or twice a year is unlikely to cause any lasting damage. If you regularly overdo it, though, it can have long-term effects on virtually all of your organs, including the eyes. For example, consistent and excessive alcohol consumption can eventually cause toxic optic neuropathy, which is inflammation of the optic nerve and can result in blurred vision and blind spots. Your eye doctor will tell you another serious side effect of alcohol consumption is a higher risk of developing both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Even if you only drink alcohol in moderation—or not at all—there may be other risk factors that pose a threat to your vision. If you’re overdue for an eye exam, head to an eye doctor at Wing Eyecare for comprehensive optometry services. With multiple offices throughout Kentucky and Ohio, they make it easy to get quality eye care no matter where you are. Visit their website to find the location nearest you, or call (888) 274-9464 to make an appointment with a knowledgeable eye doctor today. You can also find them on Facebook.