Alcoholism Eyes Symptoms (Alcohol & Vision)

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Alcoholism is a serious problem for the alcoholic, both physically and mentally.  The body has become reliant on that substance and craving for more as time passes by.  

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms effects and duration, on the other hand, can range from two or more weeks.  Having the right alcohol dependence treatment will be helpful for those experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Alcoholism is a type of substance abuse problem that is repeated and excessive.  This substance is often utilised to produce imaginary effects.  

People with excessive alcohol intake will develop mood swings, lack of communication, personality changes, problems at home, office, or school, and changes in friends.  

Their body also undergoes physical changes.  Most of them experience red eyes and dry or cracked skin. 

The withdrawal symptoms can also be lifethreatening. 

The amount consumed and length of the problem will have a huge effect on the sternness of the symptoms.  

Alcoholism Eyesight 

Does excessive alcohol drinking affect our eyes?  

Studies claimed that alcohol could give people distorted and blurry vision.  

Now, let’s see how alcohol affects people’s eyesight. 

Whether considered a social drinker or writhed with alcohol abuse, regular drinking alcohol can have harmful psychological and physical consequences. 

Among its short-term effects are double vision and blurred vision. 

Alcohol abuse can also contribute to long-term effects on eyesight conditions like increased risk of having cataracts. 

Here are some of the short-term vision effects

Slower Pupil Reaction

Excessive drinking of alcohol causes the iris to tighten and widen at a much lower speed. As a result, it becomes a primary concern for drivers who have been consuming alcohol to never adapt as rapidly to oncoming headlights.

Reduced Contrast Sensitivity

Unable to differentiate between different objects based on darkness and lightness is imperative for every driver.

But, if they are suffering from alcohol abuse, they can’t easily recognise this stuff. Studies have shown that alcohol reduces eye function to adjust their vision for contrast and brightness. 

Eye Twitching

This is also known as myokymia. It can be triggered by excessive drinking of alcohol.

Increased Dryness

Studies conducted by Hallym University College of Medicine suggested that drinking a small amount of alcohol can also increase and worsen dry eye symptoms. 

Here are the long-term damages of alcoholism

Amplified Cataract Formation

Various studies have shown improved cataract formation in patients with excessive alcohol drinking cases.

Possible Risk of AMD

The American Optometric Association recognises too much alcohol consumption can be a major risk for AMD, also known as age-related macular degeneration. 

Decreased Vision

This may happen due to vitamin deficiency. Excessive drinking of alcohol affects the absorption of vitamins needed to keep healthy eyesight. 

For instance, lack of vitamin B-1 due to alcoholism can cause paralysis or weakness of the eye muscles.

Vitamin A deficiency also leads to night blindness, corneal perforation, thinning of the cornea, dryness, and worst case is blindness due to retinal destruction. 

Tobacco-alcohol amblyopia

Also known as optic neuropathy. Individuals with excessive drinking habits have a chance to experience this condition, leading to painless loss of eyesight. 

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Excessive drinking of alcohol while pregnant can affect the baby’s eyesight. Based on the studies conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine, most eye problem conditions are related to foetal alcohol syndrome.

This includes the underdevelopment of the optic nerve, the tendency for eyelids to droop, and eye coordination problems. 

Alcohol can be consumed in moderation without having any complicated effects on the vision.  

It is crucial to remember that our body’s alcohol tolerance may be essentially different from others.  

Generally, women should consume no more than three units of alcohol in a day while men should drink no more than four units of alcohol per day.  

After recognising the different eyesight effects of alcoholism, it is a must to know its multiple symptoms. 

Alcohol can affect the eyesight in various ways, from mild to severe ones. 

Some issues that often arise after drinking too much alcohol include: 

  • Red eyes 
  • Dry eyes 
  • Blurred/double vision 
  • Twitching/trouble focusing 
  • Distorted vision 
  • Loss of vision 
  • Involuntary eye movement 
  • Yellow sclera

Alcoholism Eyes Symptoms 

Take a look at the following explanations and see if these symptoms are visible to you. 

Red Eyes  

Bloodshot or red eyes are another alcoholic eye symptom since alcohol can cause the eye’s blood vessels to swell.   

Apart from swelling of the blood vessels in the drinkers’ eyes, red look though, irritation, and itchiness can also develop.  

If the eyes are pretty uncomfortable early in the morning, it is best to use lubricating eye drops to lessen the condition.  

Dry Eyes 

Alcohol causes frequent urination and, therefore, can be a significant factor in dehydration.   

One of the side effects of excessive alcohol drinking is sweating, which eventually reduces fluids levels.  

As a result, drinkers may experience dry eyes.   

This condition can also cause redness, irritation, sensitivity to light, itching, and blurred vision.  

Blurred/Double Vision 

Blurred vision is the common side effect of excessive alcohol consumption.   

Alcohol contains carbohydrates which can boost blood sugar levels.   

It can also be a great factor in having blurred vision and other related health problems like dizziness.  

According to the WHO, half of the cider has five teaspoons of sugar.   

Therefore, its few contents can instantly disrupt distort vision and blood sugar levels.   

After consuming, it should take more or less 24 hours to normalise the blood sugar levels.  

Twitching/Trouble Focusing  

Excessive alcohol lessens the reaction time of the pupils.   

It means that pupils don’t respond to distinct colours and lights as they usually would.   

This leads to trouble focusing and twitching.  

Distorted Vision 

People who are fond of drinking alcohol also experience this type of serious eyesight problem.  

Alcohol lessens the effectiveness of communication between the brain neurotransmitters. 

These chemical runners send information from the brain to our body. 

If these messengers are not functioning well, it may lead to interruption between the eyes and the brain.  

As a result, this can weaken the coordination of the eye muscle, leading to double or distorted vision. 

Migraines and headaches are also common side effects of excessive alcohol consumption, which may be associated with double vision. 

Loss of Vision 

Large consumption of alcohol can result in loss of vision. This is a typical eyesight problem called toxic amblyopia.   

This condition happens when the toxins confined within alcohol cause destruction to the optic nerve.   

Various nerve fibreare composed of the optic nerve, and these send messengers from the eyes to the brain.  

Say, for instance, if the eyes recognise a series of light, this message is conveyed up to the brain.   

Therefore, the damaged optic nerve denotes that messages from the eyes to the brain can’t be possible, leading to blindness. 

Involuntary Eye Movement 

This condition is also a result of heavy drinking.   

If there is an involuntary eye movement, people having this condition feel uncomfortable.  

This eyesight problem can also lead to reduced vision. 

Yellow Sclera  

The sclera is the white part of the eye, and it can get yellowish if people keep on drinking alcohol.   

In addition, it is also a sign of having a liver problem.  

When alcohol damages liver function, it will not function accurately.   

The yellow sclera is often caused by the production of red blood cells, which can never be detached from the damaged liver.  

Reducing the amount of alcohol intake will improve health conditions, including the liver and eyesight.  

The risks of having health problems tend to increase if people failed to follow a healthy lifestyle.  

When enjoyed in moderation, wines or alcohol will not destroy their vision permanently.  

There will be no short-term or long-term problems. But headaches or blurred vision may be common. 

After recognising its effects and symptoms, they will be more aware of how it can change their life. 


Understanding the real alcoholism eyes symptoms and effects will entice them to limit their alcohol consumption.  

In case of eye damage from alcohol abuse, the best way to solve this issue is to prevent it. 

In most cases, people experiencing these symptoms and effects prefer to stop their daily habits. 

They opt not to drink alcohol to improve their lifestyle. However, the process and effects of alcohol withdrawal cannot be done instantly. 

They may also experience withdrawal symptoms while getting rid of their favourite alcohol or wine.  

When thinking of withdrawal programmes, it helps to look ahead to rehab because they will need treatment to stop their addiction.  

Alcohol detox rehab comes into two types –outpatient rehab and inpatient rehab. 

The outpatient is where patients can get some medications during the day but stay at home.  It is just like visiting a medical expert and get their medicines. 

On the other hand, inpatient is where they stay at a hospital, rehab centre, or detox clinic during the procedure.  

Inpatient often provides more and extensive services, but it is pretty expensive than the other type. 

Rehab programmes can include a wide range of services, from counselling and medical care to life skills training, and help to avert a relapse.

Abbeycare clinics provide the above services, and our staff are always happy to assist you. Visit our Abbeycare Scotland or Abbeycare Gloucester treatment centres today and let us be your partner in your journey to alcoholism recovery.

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.