Most people are familiar with the after-effects of a heavy night of drinking, but bingeing on alcohol can do much more damage than just a hangover.
Indulging in prolonged periods of binge drinking actually puts your eyesight at risk – and can sometimes lead to blindness.
To mark Alcohol Awareness Week, health experts at Optical Express have warned that the toxins in alcohol can easily damage the optic nerve and affect vision.
Amy Laux, Clinical Governance Manager at Optical Express, said: “Apart from well-known physical changes such as ‘red eye’, a common symptom of dry eye, alcohol also reduces brain activity, which causes vision to fluctuate, in turn impairing how we judge distances.”
It’s not just the day after the night before that boozers need to worry about.
Abusing alcohol can lead to long-term problems, especially if you are regularly going over the recommended maximum weekly intake of 14 units.
“Alcohol is linked to over 60 medical conditions”
Amy explained: “Alcohol is linked to over 60 medical conditions and can be the trigger for early onset of age-related macular degeneration, causing a drinker to lose focus in their central field of vision.
“It’s really important for people to understand the long-term health implications that binge drinking can bring with it.
“Prolonged heavy drinking can severely impact eye health, including the formation of cataracts, AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) and in some cases, blindness.”
Older people are more likely to be susceptible to blindness.
That’s because the metabolism slows down the older you get, making it harder for the body to break down toxins quickly.
It is also common for your vision to deteriorate over the years as the optic nerve weakens.
Therefore the combination of heavy drinking and ageing can put your eyesight at risk.
Amy added: “With the festive season fast approaching we strongly advise that people stick to the recommended guidelines of alcohol consumption i.e. not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis, as those who exceed this could be putting their eyesight in danger.
“To protect our sight as much as we can, we suggest booking an eye test once every two years, unless your optometrist advises otherwise or you notice a change or abnormality in your sight.”