Philip Walsh - How does alcohol affect your eyes?

Publish Date
Friday, 29 December 2017, 1:20PM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

By Philip Walsh

Long, hot summer days and a seemingly endless amount of social events often calls for more alcohol than usual. And although we know the damage excess alcohol consumption can have on the body, we often overlook the effect it has on eyes.

Firstly, your eyesight can be altered temporarily as alcohol slows down reactions. Your eyes can suffer from a variety of issues under the influence of alcohol, such as decreased visual performance, slower pupil reaction, decreased peripheral vision and a decrease in contrast sensitivity. This is because the more alcohol you have in your body, the more your brain starts struggling to send accurate signals to the eyes, therefore they fail to function at their optimum level. 

Long-term effects of excess alcohol consumption can increase your chances of developing tobacco-alcohol amblyopia. Also known as toxic optic neuropathy, the condition develops as a result of excess alcohol consumption and causes painless loss of vision amongst sufferers. 

For more questions surrounding your eye health and alcohol consumption this holiday season, visit your local Specsavers optometrist or book a test online at

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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