4 Eye Conditions Caused by Alcohol Consumption

It is well documented in the medical field that excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for over 60 medical conditions, including eye disorders.

Just how badly can too much alcohol damage the eyes? Eye disorders caused by too much drinking vary from short-term red eyes too long-term complications of a more serious nature such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and full-blown blindness.

Safe Zone

How much is too much, at least when it comes to eye health?

Health experts agree that 14 units or less of alcohol per week is safe, any more and the risk of eye damage increases exponentially.

While damage to the eyes may take some time to appear, statistics unfailingly prove that exceeding the recommended amount of alcohol per week almost always leads to some form of eye problem.

The likelihood that eye damage will occur in later years is increased since metabolism tends to slow down at this time and the body is not able to eliminate toxins and free radicals like it used to. Too much free radicals in the body are extremely dangerous to the eyes and can cause a host of optical impairments.

Dry Eyes

In most cases, dry eyes are short-lived and can be corrected by getting enough sleep after a night of heavy drinking. However, when drinking becomes a constant habit, dry eyes also become a constant companion for the drinker.

Constant dry eyes can cause major damage to the tear ducts and glands, which require more complicated forms of treatment in order to lessen their damaging effects that ultimately could lead to permanent visual impairment.

Optical Nerve Damage

If you have ever drunk past your limit, you know what it is like to have blurred vision, and while this symptom is a temporary phenomenon leaving the drinker once they have slept it off, this short-term vision loss has been responsible for serious accidents to both the drinker and innocent bystanders alike.

Constantly experiencing this “beer google” phenomenon can lead to permanent optical nerve damage say, optical specialists, the likes of which can make those temporary goggles permanent in nature.

Again, the damage to the optical nerves is caused by too much free radical damage, which is a standard occurrence of too much drinking.

Macular Degeneration

This eye disease is the number one cause of blindness among senior citizens across the globe. It is characterized by vision loss within the macula, the central area of vision within the retina.

It is most commonly caused by aging, but it has been shown that excessive drinking can contribute and enhance this condition to the point of blindness.

Those who are already experiencing macular degeneration in its early to middle stages are advised to avoid alcohol altogether. In fact, optical experts suggest that anyone over the age of 50 should severely limit their drinking as alcohol will definitely cause damage to an aging macula.


Another eye disorder that too much alcohol can promote and enhance is cataracts, an eye condition where the lens of the eye becomes opaque resulting in blurry vision.

Once again, free radical damage brought on by excessive drinking is the culprit when it comes to alcohol-related cataracts. Even though the condition can be treated by replacing the lens through surgery, the procedure costs money and as with any invasive treatment, permanent damage can occur.

If you are a heavy drinker and feel that you suffer from any of the above symptoms, contact your eye specialist immediately. If you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms but drink on a consistent basis, you should still have your eyes checked routinely to make sure that none of these disorders are beginning to manifest themselves within your eyes.

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