Is Drinking Alcohol Bad For Your Eyes?
Alcohol is a key part of many people’s lifestyle and social life. It’s a personal choice whether or not we drink, and how much, but many of our social rituals are rooted around having a drink with friends or family.
Alcohol is known to dehydrate the body, and have a negative effect on brain function and overall health.1 But it can also have a negative effect on our eyes. Alcohol increases the sugar level in your blood, which causes the lenses of your eyes to swell, which often results in blurry vision and itchy, irritated eyes. 2
For people who already suffer from chronic Dry Eye Syndrome, drinking alcohol can increase the risk of symptoms worsening.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
You might be suffering from Dry Eye if your if your eyes are:
Gritty or sandy
Sensitive to light
More watery than normal 3
Why does alcohol make these symptoms worse?
Alcohol dehydrates the eyes and makes it even harder for the body to produce enough tears. 4 Repeated consumption can also make it harder to absorb vitamins and maintain a healthy digestion, which can limit how effectively your body regenerates the tissue in your eyes.5
What can you do to minimise symptoms?
- Reduce your alcohol intake
Reducing the amount that you drink, perhaps by taking part in challenges like Dry January can help to improve your health. When we stop consuming alcohol, our eyes have time to strengthen and protect against macular degeneration and Dry Eye Syndrome, as the body is more hydrated and has better blood flow to the vital organs.6 Even drinking only on the weekends is a great start to protect your eyes.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is something we all need to try and do, but especially because it helps keep your eyes hydrated and protects against Dry Eye Syndrome. Experts recommend between 8-10 glasses a day if you already suffer from dry, itchy eyes. 7
- Reduce your screen time
Spending less time staring at a phone, tablet or laptop, whilst sometimes difficult, is another great thing that helps your eyes recover from alcohol damage.8
- Maintain a healthy diet, packed full of Vitamin A, C and E
A balanced diet rich in Omega 3 and vitamins helps boost eye health and reduce the chance of eyes becoming tired and dehydrated.9
- Consider a three-step treatment plan to combat dry eye:
Step 1: Apply a heated compress, such as Meibopatch®, to unblock your meibomian glands and relieve your eyes.
Step 2: Cleanse and wipe away the melted oil blocking your glands, as well as any built-up debris with a cleanser like Naviblef®, that is specially designed to reduce discomfort.
Step 3: Incorporate an effective eye drop like VisuXL® Gel into your daily routine. With 12 hr protection with just one drop morning and night, your eyes will feel a great sense of relief this season.10 11 †
In most cases, the best way to treat dry eyes, Also known as dry eye syndrome, is to use eye gel or eye drops.
VisuXL Gel is a preservative-free smart gel lubricant for dry eye syndrome. It provides comfort in a bottle with it’s long-lasting lubrication properties giving 12-hour dosing with just one drop and is suitable for both day and night use.
VisuXL is a preservative-free eye drop lubricant for dry eye syndrome. Due to its unique ingredients, VisuXL will help you recover from eye surgery, an injury or persistent damaging dry eye.
Both products are contact lens-friendly and can be used for 180 days after opening.
- Pietrangelo, Ann, and Raypole, Crystal, ‘What are the Effects of Alcohol on the body?’, Heathline, 30th Nov 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body#psychological Accessed Dec 2021.
- Farrier and Mackinnion Optometrists, https://fmoptom.com/news/dry-january-not-so-dry-eyes/ Accessed Nov 2021.
- Mayo Clinic, ‘Dry Eyes’ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371863 Accessed Nov 2021.
- You, Young-Sheng, Qu, Nai-Bin, Yu, Xiao-Ning, ‘Alcohol consumption and dry eye syndrome: a Meta-analysis’, International Journey of Opthamology, 2016; 9(10): 1487–1492.
- Selina Pfitscher, ‘The Effects of Alcochol on Your Vision’, Lenstore Vision Hub, 13th Feb 2021, Accessed Dec 2021 https://www.lenstore.co.uk/eyecare/alcohol-vision-infographic
- Jacci, ‘10 Negative Effects Alcochol Has on the Eyes’, Ultralase, 30th Dec 2019 https://www.ultralase.com/blog/getting-blind-drunk-10-negative-effects-alcohol-has-on-the-eyes/, Accessed Dec 2021.
- Complete Eye Care, ‘How Does Hydration Affect My Eyes’, Accessed Sep 2021: https://www.completeeyecare.net/featured-articles/how-does-hydration-affect-my-eyes/
- Wheeler, Regina Boyle. ‘Dry Eye and Screen Use’, WebMD, 21/06/21, Accessed Oct 2021: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/dry-eye-screen-use
- Porter, Daniel,.Gregori, Ninel, Z. ‘Diet and Nutrition’, American Academy of Opthamology, Nov 2020, Accessed Sep 2021: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/diet-nutrition
- VisuXL Instructions for Use (IFU)
- Brancato R, Fiore T, Papucci L, et al. Concomitant Effect of Topical Ubiquinone Q10 and Vitamin E to Prevent Keratocyte Apoptosis After Excimer Laser Photoablation in Rabbits. J Refract Surg 2002; 18: 135-9.
† In an animal model.