Does Alcohol Affect Your Eyes?
“Alcoholic eyes” is a catchall term that refers to the adverse effects of alcoholism on eyesight and eye health.
Most people have heard about the negative health effects of heavy drinking. We know that alcoholism can cause liver disease, cancer, heart disease, and brain damage. What we may not be aware of is that excessive drinking can also damage the eyes.
Alcoholic eyes refers to a whole host of eye health problems that can be caused by alcoholism. It is just one more reason to get into treatment for an alcohol use disorder. To learn more about alcoholic eyes, read on!
How Do I Know I Have an Alcohol Problem?
About 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) each year.
An AUD can develop when someone acquires the habit of daily drinking. This happens as tolerance increases, leading the person to consume ever-higher amounts of alcohol.
The brain adapts to the dopamine response triggered by the alcohol consumption, which causes neural pathways to become altered. Over time, the habit becomes a compulsive need to drink because the person has become chemically dependent on alcohol.
There are some classic warning signs and symptoms that can alert you to a drinking problem. These include:
- Trying to stop or limit drinking, but not able to.
- Drinking alone.
- Having blackouts.
- Lying about how much you drink; hiding alcohol.
- Drinking causing problems in relationships.
- Neglecting responsibilities.
- Isolating; avoiding social events.
- Getting into trouble with the law.
- Increased tolerance.
- Keep drinking even as problems caused by alcohol continue to mount.
- Increased cravings.
- Red, glassy, puffy eyes.
- Having withdrawal symptoms; frequent hangovers.
How Does Alcohol Use Disorder Harm Our Eyes?
Alcohol is toxic to the body, including the eyes. Drinking can cause harm to the eyes, starting with dehydration and swollen blood vessels. Excessive alcohol use for a prolonged period can result in various eye-related conditions.
Chronic heavy drinking can do more than just cause the visible signs of eye irritation. Vision itself can also be affected by an alcohol problem, as well as eye health. These effects can lead to serious eye problems if the AUD is not curtailed and treated.
What Are the Short-Term Effects of Alcohol On Eyes?
The short-term effects of AUD on the eyes are many. These include:
- Eye irritation.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Dry eyes.
- Double vision.
- Eye pain.
- Blurry vision.
- Eye twitching.
- Rapid eye movement.
- Slow pupil reaction.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcoholic Eyes?
For those with a more severe AUD, the long-term damage to the eyes caused by heavy drinking may include:
- Age-related macular degeneration.
- Weakened ocular muscles.
- Optic neuropathy.
- Distorted vision.
- Eye paralysis.
- Eye perforation.
How To Prevent Getting Alcoholic Eyes
You may have an AUD and want to avoid experiencing these short and long-term eye problems. If so, you will need to seek expert help. The support and guidance you receive at a quality treatment program can help you overcome the AUD.
The program will include these components:
Prior to starting the rehab program you will meet with the clinical team. During this meeting the clinician will ask a series of questions. These will relate to your drinking history, such as how long you have been drinking and how much you consume. They will review your health and mental health history as well. From the answers you give them, they can assess whether you have a mild, moderate, or severe AUD. This can guide the detox protocols and help them predict your detox timeline.
There are some risks involved with alcohol detox if you have a moderate or severe AUD. This explains why people are never advised to attempt detox on their own without medical support. During detox the body will expel the alcohol from the system over a period of about 5-7 days. Symptoms peak on day 3-4 before they begin to subside. The detox team will offer drugs as needed to help reduce the discomforts of the withdrawal symptoms.
When you finish detox you will be stable enough to engage in treatment. Treatment will focus on different types of therapy that help you make needed changes in your behavior patterns. This is done through the use of evidence-based therapies that have been studied and shown to work. They include CBT, DBT, CM, and MET. Therapy is offered in both one-on-one sessions and group sessions.
The role of the family as a source of support cannot be overstated. During family focused therapy sessions members are guided to avoid enabling and codependency. They are also able to work through any major family issues that might have factored into the AUD.
A large number of people with AUD also have a co-occurring mental health challenge. When this is the case, it is critical that the person receive treatment for the mental health disorder along with the AUD. This is called a dual diagnosis and requires psychiatric expertise.
There is a tight link between our mental state and our health. During rehab you will learn ways to relax, which help you manage stress better. These are methods you can, and should, practice throughout recovery, as stress can cause a relapse. Holistic treatment methods might include yoga, mindfulness training, art therapy, keeping a journal, massage, and breath work.
If you or a loved one has acquired alcoholic eyes, that is a sign that treatment for the AUD is needed. The sooner help is sought for alcoholism, the sooner the damage to the eyes will stop.
Bodhi Addiction Treatment Center Treats Alcohol Use Disorder
Bodhi Addiction Treatment centers its program on caring for the whole person. It is through this mind-body-spirit pathway that wellness can be restored. Avoid the danger of acquiring alcoholic eyes and get help now. For any questions about the program, please contact the team today at (877) 328-1968.