Philip Walsh - How does alcohol affect your eyes?

Publish Date
Thursday, 30 March 2017, 1:02PM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By Philip Walsh

Drinking alcohol has many side effects but it is easy to forget about how it affects our eyesight. There are a few things that happen to our eyes when we drink, from blurred vision to sensitive eyes the next day.

As we are well aware, alcohol slows down reactions and can harm some of our vital organs. Your eyes can suffer from a variety of things under the influence, such as decreased visual performance, slow pupil reactions, decreased peripheral vision and a decrease in contrast sensitivity.

This happens because your brain does not send the correct signals to your eyes, so they don’t function at their optimum level.

There are links between excess alcohol consumption and the painless loss of vision, reduced colour vision or decreased peripheral vision.

Alcohol can also trigger migraines in some people creating a visual aura, such as blind spots, greying of vision or zigzag patterns of light.

Redness of the eyes and dry eyes are also more noticeable and are common side-effects. This is caused by the dilation of blood vessels which create the redness.

For any questions or more information about eye health, visit your local Specsavers optometrist or


About Philip 

Philip is an experienced optometrist with a Bachelor of Optometry from Auckland University. He’s worked in the UK, Zimbabwe and is now the Optometrist Director at the Specsavers New Lynn store in Auckland, one of 52 Specsavers stores across the country. 

Improving access for all Kiwis to high-quality eye care and eyewear is Philip’s passion. What he loves about his role at Specsavers is providing all his patients with excellent customer service and professional eye care with the latest technology and knowledgeable well-trained staff.

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