Millions of us are taking part in Dry January to kick the booze and be healthier, but what they may not have realised is it could be improving their eyesight.
Experts at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists claim giving up alcohol can improve the condition of your eyes and vision.
Blurred or double vision is often a consequence of too much drink, but opticians say drinkers may also find they experience bloodshot, puffy or dry eyes for a day or two after drinking – caused mainly by dehydration or a change in blood pressure.
Excessive and prolonged drinking can also lead to more longer-term consequences on a person’s vision and can result in the eyesight failing, triggering early onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause the individual to lose focus in their central field of vision.
Royston Bayfield, founder and managing director of Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, said: “As a person consumes more alcohol, their liver processes less of the substance, leading to higher levels of toxins in the blood.
“Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to many health issues, for your eye health this can include increasing the risk of macular degeneration.
This develops when the part of the eye responsible for central vision is unable to function as effectively as it used to. It can mean reading becomes difficult, colours appear less vibrant and people’s faces are difficult to recognise.
“Additionally, changes in blood pressure caused by alcohol reduce how many nutrients and how much oxygen the optic nerve receives, and changes in levels of B12, or thiamine, can also damage vision.
There are also some studies which suggest that excessive drinking can lead to an increased risk of cataracts, which is a condition that makes the clear lens of the eye go cloudy or opaque.”
Your eyes can provide clues to your general health and wellbeing too. People who complete Dry January – or go even longer without booze – may well find their eyes look brighter.
Bayfield added: “The whites of the eye, known as the sclera, should be really clear. If they look yellow it could be a sign of jaundice, which means the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts aren’t working properly.
This condition can occur if someone has drunk too much over a long period of time.
“If the whites of your eyes discolour, this could also be a sign of other health conditions such as blood disorders, anaemia, pancreatitis, or other health conditions.
We’d urge anyone who has noticed a change in the feel, look or function of their eyes to seek a thorough examination that checks eye health, as well as vision, as soon as possible.”
For further information or to book an eye examination visit www.bayfieldsopticians.com