Many people are familiar with the effects that alcohol can have on things like the brain and liver, but studies show that the consequences of drinking can actually impact your eyesight as well. The term “alcoholic eyes” refers to the ways in which your eyes can be harmed by alcohol consumption. Below, we look into the symptoms of alcoholic eyes and, most importantly, what to do if your eyes are being harmed by alcohol use.
How Dangerous Is Alcohol for Your Eyes?
When you drink alcohol, your entire body is affected: your organs, your behaviors and actions, and your mental health are all things that can be negatively impacted by alcohol, regardless of how much or how little you drink. In fact, alcohol can even lead to different types of cancer. With prolonged alcohol use, these side effects are even more prominent.
If you have ever experienced eye pain after drinking alcohol, you might already know some of the ways in which this substance can be dangerous toward your body. The combination of alcohol and eye pain is an indicator that something is not quite right. For many people, alcoholic eyes begin with dehydration.
From there, alcohol can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to swell, which leads to bloodshot eyes. Bloodshot eyes can be dry, irritated, and painful. Moreover, bloodshot eyes can be a sign of more serious complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and addiction.
Additionally, drinking alcohol can change the way that your eyes respond to natural light and other stimuli. For instance, your pupils may not adjust to light properly. And if your eyes do not adjust to changing light correctly, you might not be fully aware of your surroundings. This could be a serious risk for you and the people around you.
The truth is that the extent to which alcohol can impact your eyes in the long-run is still unknown. However, studies show that alcoholism is linked to various eye conditions, including:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Alcohol blindness
- Blurry or double vision
- Carotid artery disease
- Dry eye syndrome
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The more you drink, the higher your risk is for developing any of these conditions. This means that if you are struggling with an alcohol use disorder, you have a greater chance of experiencing the dangerous side effects of alcohol on your eyes as well as your overall well being.
What Do Alcoholic Eyes Look Like?
The physical signs of alcoholism can be challenging to detect in yourself or in others you care about. However, alcoholic eyes often have a distinct look to them. Having red eyes after drinking is one of the biggest signs that you might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder. If you are looking for the signs of alcoholic eyes in yourself or other people, you might be able to spot:
- Red eyes
- Itchy, dry eyes
- Eye pain
- Vision loss
- Slow pupil dilation
Remember that an addiction to alcohol goes further than just physical harm. In addition to these physical signs of alcoholism, be sure to watch out for the other symptoms that come with addiction. These include worsening mental health, changes in behavior, turning to drugs or alcohol to “cope” with stress, and having withdrawal symptoms whenever you are not using or drinking.
What Can You Do for Alcoholic Eyes?
If you do have any of these signs of a substance use disorder as well as alcoholic eyes, you could be at risk of losing your eyesight, your health, and your happiness. The only proven way to prevent alcoholic eyes and all of the effects of alcoholism is to seek out addiction treatment as soon as possible.
Addiction treatment programs like the ones at The Blackberry Center are here to help you recover from the physical and emotional pain that stems from these conditions. Here, you will be overseen by medical professionals to keep you physically safe from harm as well as mental health experts who will work with you to treat the root cause of your struggles with addiction.
We offer a safe detoxification process to start so that you will feel physically ready to tackle the remainder of your recovery journey. From there, you will have the opportunity to participate in services such as:
- Mental health recovery programs
- Crisis stabilization
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Christian recovery treatment
During your treatment process, you will learn the ins and outs of addiction as you recover in order for you to take this knowledge and the skills you’ll practice with you once you begin your new sober life. Learning about the short- and long-term effects of alcoholic eyes—and addiction in general—can leave a lot of people feeling hopeless. But rest assured that our team is here to help you to get back on your feet so that you can clearly see the bright future that lies ahead.
Our eyes are meant to naturally switch between dilating to let in more light and constricting to filter out light in order to help us see in different environments. However, alcohol can slow down the ability for your eyes to dilate or constrict. As a result, you might experience blurry vision or blind spots.
Dry eyes are a common symptom from any type of alcoholic beverage, including wine. Not only can alcohol cause you to be dehydrated, which strains your eyes, but alcohol can also slow down your eyes’ natural reflexes.
Alcoholic eyes often look red and irritated. One of the reasons this occurs is because alcohol use can make the blood vessels in your eyes swell or even burst.
When consumed in large amounts over an extended period of time, alcohol can change the health of your eyes by weakening the muscles and deteriorating parts of your brain that control sight.
Alcohol can have many different negative effects on your eyes. Alcohol use is connected with various vision problems, including blurry sight, dry eyes, and even blindness. These side effects can be both temporary and long term, and they range in severity.