Eyesight: Drink loved by the nation may ‘affect your vision’ as you age, experts warn
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According to Specsavers, having “overall good health” can prevent your eyesight from getting worse sooner than it might. But more specifically the retail chain warns against drinking too much alcohol in order to look after your vision. It says: “A bad diet, smoking or excessive alcohol consumption may all affect your vision.
“Also, getting enough sleep, regularly exercising and avoiding smoking can equally help prolong healthy eyesight and overall well-being.”
This is backed by American eye specialists, Your Sight Matters, which explains the link between drinking and vision.
“Besides the harmful damage that alcohol can do to your body systems, excessive drinking can cause permanent eye damage,” it says.
There are four common eyesight problems “excessive” drinkers can face, Your Sight Matters says.
Muscle weakness – Alcohol weakens the muscles of the eyes and can permanently damage the optic nerve which transmits visual images to the brain.
Prolonged alcohol use can cause involuntary rapid eye movement.
Neurological disruptions – Alcohol slows down the communication between the eyes and the brain.
This can cause double vision, decrease reaction time of pupils and impair the ability to see colour shades.
Unsightly appearance – Bloodshot eyes is one of the most common physical characteristics of a heavy drinker.
Alcohol dilates ocular blood vessels, which makes them look larger and gives the eyes a reddish colour.
Sharp pain – Alcohol can make the eyes extremely sensitive to light and cause migraine headaches.
But Your Sight Matters comments: “Alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation without any adverse effects to the eyesight.”
The UK’s chief medical officer recommends that men and women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
One unit is equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol – one drink does not equal one unit.
14 units is equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or six 175ml glasses of average strength wine.
If you notice any sudden deterioration in your eyesight “without reason”, you are advised to seek professional advice from your GP or optician.
Specsavers states that there are three key steps to keeping your eyes as healthy as possible.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and limiting alcohol and smoking can help keep your body healthy – including your eyes.
Protecting your eyes from UV rays – This can help to reduce the risk of developing more serious eye conditions, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, when you’re older.
Getting regular eye tests – Early detection and treatment of some eye conditions, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, may help to prevent your vision from worsening.
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