How doing Sober October can improve your eye health

18 October
Millions of people are expected to take part in Sober October this year following a summer jam-packed full of events, as a way of detoxing and getting back onto a healthier path. 
But as well as boosting the immune system, restoring sleep patterns and increasing energy levels, did you know that giving up alcohol can also improve the condition of your eyes and vision? Read what Mark Shelton, one of our Optometrists and Clinical Development Coaches, has to say below.
“A temporary problem associated with alcohol consumption is blurred or double vision, but this should wear off once the person sobers up. 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.”
“However, some studies suggest that having more than three alcoholic drinks a day can have more longer-term consequences on a person’s vision, increasing your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause the individual to lose focus in their central field of vision.”
“As a person consumes more alcohol, their liver is less effective at performing its other key functions, leading to higher levels of toxins in the blood. A build-up of these toxins over time may cause damage to many parts of the body, potentially including the optic nerve. This condition is called Optic Neuropathy and although this is a rare occurrence it is generally believed that the lack of nutrients to the nerve cause by excessive alcohol or tobacco can be a factor which in turn lead to a painless loss of vision.”
“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 Sober October – or go even longer without booze – may well find their eyes look brighter and feel more comfortable.”
 “The whites of the eye, known as the sclera, should be white in colour. 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 some cancers. 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 speak to your local practice or book an eye examination here.