Alcohol can affect the eyes in many ways, causing drunken eyes. If you are wondering about drunken eyes and want to find out more, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, we will go over everything you need to know about the effects of alcohol on the eyes, the causes of drunken eyes, the symptoms, and how to protect your eyes and keep them healthy.


The Effects of Alcohol on the Eyes

Alcohol can have a range of bad effects on the eyes, both short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Effects

  • Red eyes: Alcohol causes your eye’s blood vessels to dilate which can make them appear red and bloodshot.
  • Dry eyes: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it causes the body to lose fluids which can then lead to dry eyes. This can be uncomfortable and irritating.
  • Blurred vision: Alcohol can interfere with the eye’s ability to focus resulting in blurred vision which is a common side effect of drinking.
  • Double vision: Alcohol can also interfere with the coordination of the two eyes, which can lead to double vision.
  • Light sensitivity: Alcohol can make the eyes more sensitive to light, which can be uncomfortable and interfere with vision.


Long-Term Effects

  • Increased risk of cataracts: Cataracts are classed as a clouding on the lens of the eye, and long-term alcohol abuse has been associated with an increased risk of cataracts.
  • Increased risk of glaucoma: Glaucoma is a type of condition which damages the eye’s optic nerve, and this can lead to vision loss. Alcohol consumption has been strongly linked to an increased risk of glaucoma.
  • Increased risk of optic neuropathy: Optic neuropathy is a condition which causes damage to the optic nerve, and this damage can lead to vision loss.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Alcohol can affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This can include vitamins and minerals that are essential for eye health which can eventually lead to certain nutritional deficiencies that can damage the eyes and impair vision.

In addition to these specific effects, alcohol can also worsen existing eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.


What Causes Drunken Eyes?

Drunken eyes are a condition that can cause the eyes to appear red, bloodshot, glassy, and unfocused. This is due to a combination of factors, including:

  • Blood vessel dilation: Alcohol causes the blood vessels in the body to widen, including the blood vessels in the eyes. This increased blood flow can make the eyes appear red and bloodshot.
  • Dehydration: Drinking alcohol causes people to become dehydrated which can also cause the eyes to appear sunken and dry.
  • Muscle relaxation: Alcohol also relaxes the muscles in the eyes, which can cause the eyes to appear unfocused and droopy.
  • Poor coordination: Alcohol can also interfere with the coordination of the two eyes, which can lead to double vision and difficulty focusing.

In addition to these factors, alcohol can also worsen existing eye conditions, such as dry eye syndrome and glaucoma which can make the symptoms of drunken eyes even more pronounced.

It is important to note that drunken eyes are not a permanent condition. The effects of alcohol on the eyes are usually temporary and will go away once the alcohol has been metabolised by the body. However, if you drink alcohol regularly or suffer from alcohol addiction, you may be more likely to experience the long-term effects of alcohol on the eyes, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and optic neuropathy. Knowing how to get rid of drunken eyes can help you to generally sober up and feel better. Learn more below.


The Symptoms of Drunken Eyes

People who are drunk show a number of physical signs that they are inebriated, and drunken eyes are one of the most common symptoms. Other signs that a person is drunk include slurred speech, difficulty concentrating and following conversations, talking loudly, poor balance and unusual behaviour. Swollen lymph nodes after drinking and headaches are also common hangover symptoms.

The effects of alcohol on the eyes can make people appear to be drunk, especially when the eyes are glossy or unfocused. This can result in people with drunk eyes struggling to see clearly, experiencing blurred vision, and more. To get rid of drunken eyes, follow the below tips.


Tips for Reducing the Effects of Alcohol on the Eyes

The best way to prevent drunken eyes is to limit your alcohol intake. If you do choose to drink, try to alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, such as water or juice. There are also a number of other things you can do to reduce the effects of drunken eyes, including:

  • Alcohol can make you dehydrated, so it’s important that you stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water.
  • If you are going to be drinking for an extended period of time, you must take breaks to give your body time to metabolise the alcohol.
  • If you experience dry eyes when you drink alcohol, you can use eyedrops to reduce any discomfort.
  • When you are well-rested, your eyes are better able to cope with the effects of alcohol.

If you or a loved one is commonly abusing alcohol and experiencing side effects from alcohol, you may have developed an alcohol addiction. Find out more about alcohol rehab treatment here.


Recommendations for Overall Eye Health

Here are some recommendations for overall eye health:

Eat a healthy diet

You need to make sure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet which is rich in lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as this is important for overall health, including eye health. Be sure to include plenty of foods that are good for your eyes, such as dark leafy greens, carrots, and fatty fish.

Get regular exercise

Exercise is great as it can help to improve your overall health and well-being. This can have a positive impact on eye health. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Don’t smoke

Smoking is a major risk factor for many eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. If you smoke, you can improve your eye health by quitting.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Protect your eyes from all of the harmful UV rays from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses when you are outdoors. Choose a pair of sunglasses that block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.

Use protective eyewear

When you are doing any activities that could put your eyes at risk, such as sports or home improvement projects, be sure to wear protective eyewear.

Get regular eye exams

Even if you don’t have any vision problems, it is important to get regular eye exams from an eye doctor. Eye exams can often detect eye diseases in the early stages. This is usually when they are most treatable.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 29, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.