Alcohol addiction gives a person too many problems to deal with. Not only are there the financial, social and psychological effects, but also the most obvious physical problems.

Another physical problem, not often considered, has to do with the eyes. They are organs that are taken for granted by many of us and drinking heavily can have a wide-ranging impact on them.

If you have a drinking problem, it’s important to know the effects of alcohol on eyesight, the potential long-lasting impact and what you can do to prevent it.


Alcohol’s Immediate Effects on the Body

So, can alcohol cause blurred vision? Well, to get to the bottom of the question, you need to know what alcohol does to your body.

Alcohol has the most impact on the central nervous system, which consists of a network of nerve cells in the brain and spinal column. The CNS is the base of operations for your body and is extremely important to doing anything.

Alcohol acts as a depressant, meaning it slows down everything going on in the CNS. Because of this, you can suffer from slurred speech whilst drinking, become less coordinated, reduce your reflexes and impair your vision.

Drinking heavily can also cause a drop in blood sugar, leading to seizures, disrupt your heart function, lower your body temperature and depress your breathing.

Simply put – drinking alcohol to the extreme can bring physiological responses all over the body that can lead to fatal consequences.


Can Alcohol Cause Blurred Vision?

If you suffer from alcoholism, then in some capacity, your vision will be affected, which could make it blurrier.

  • Muscle Coordination. Blurred vision may occur as alcohol can reduce your muscle coordination. Muscles around your eyes are what move your eyes. If they are weakened, then you may start to suffer from double or blurred vision.
  • Contrast Sensitivity. Alcohol will affect your ability to distinguish colour shades. This could lead to confusion and danger – especially if you are driving.
  • Delayed Pupil Reactions. Alcohol slows down everything in your body. For your eyes, this means that your iris will constrict and dilate slower than it should. This will make it harder to adjust to light or dark environments and possibly make everything more blurred.
  • Decreased Peripheral Vision. Alcohol will make it harder for you to see well on your right and left sides, leading to more tunnel vision. Anything beyond this small window of sight will be blurred, or you’ll ignore them completely.


The Long-Term Impact of Alcohol on Vision

In regards to the question, “Can alcohol cause blurred vision?”, yes, it can. However, beyond that, you might be wondering whether chronic alcohol consumption can lead to more severe vision issues. The answer is yes. Alcohol abuse can cause serious issues that will affect you in the long term.


This is the clouding of the lens of your eyes. Mostly associated with older people, drinking heavily can advance the condition – leading you to suffer from blurred vision, sensitivity to light, bad night vision and a change in ability to see colour.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration affects your central vision and is the most common cause of severe eyesight loss in older people. Alcohol can speed up the progression of AMD, leading to blurry and distorted vision and loss of central vision. Central vision is important to driving, reading and recognising faces.

Optic Neuropathy

This relates to damage to the optic nerves. Alcohol won’t cause this directly, but addiction will lead to nutritional deficiencies or interrupt blood flow and affect the optic nerves. Eye pain, blurred vision, blind spots and eventual complete vision loss come with optic neuropathy.

Other Diseases Affecting Vision

Alcohol will hit your liver hard, eventually leading to jaundice. This causes a yellowing of your skin and eyes. Alcoholics are usually nutrient deficient as the liver cannot absorb nutrients and vitamins like it once did. Lack of nutrients for your eyes will impair your vision.


Your drinking may not be severe enough to justify attending an alcohol rehab, but could still be affecting your vision. If that’s the case, then there are some easy things you can do to lessen the risk of blurred vision due to alcohol.

Cut Down on Drinking

If you think that alcohol is making your eye health worse, the most obvious thing is to reduce your drinking. Less alcohol in your system means that it is more hydrated, improving blood flow to your organs. Your eyes will have more time to strengthen and protect against more serious eye problems.


Staying active will improve your blood flow and oxygen levels, reducing the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma. Regular exercise also helps with blood sugar levels, reducing the chance of diabetes, which can lead to vision problems.

Drink Water

Alcohol leads to dehydration, which can cause dry and itchy eyes. Glasses of water, even between alcoholic drinks, will help keep your eyes hydrated and healthier.

A Well-Balanced Diet

Maintaining a nutritional diet, packed full of the right vitamins, is vital to staying healthy. Vitamin C and Omega 3 will help with eye fatigue, and including leafy greens in your diet, that contain Vitamin B, will improve your eye health.

Reduce Your Screen Time

If you are a functioning alcoholic, you will be maintaining a work/life balance. In today’s world, work means being in front of a screen of some kind. Giving your eyes a rest from screens to recover from the damage that alcohol may be doing is important not to damage your vision any further.


Treating Alcohol Addiction

Sometimes, an alcohol addiction is serious enough that you need professional help to deal with it. At a rehab centre, you can begin your recovery in an environment built towards helping you achieve your goals.

You will likely take part in an alcohol detox regime. Detoxification is when you deliberately stop drinking and go through withdrawal. This can be a distressing experience, but in a professional setting, you will have access to medical care and medication to help ease the symptoms.

Rehab centres, like us at Ocean Recovery, also offer a variety of therapy options. Going deeper into the psychological side of addiction is important to beating it. Through various types of individual and group sessions, you will gain the coping skills and techniques that can help you outside of therapy.


Seek Support for Alcohol Addiction Today

While it may not be obvious at first, alcohol and blurred vision can be closely related and have long-lasting consequences. Alcohol not only affects your vision in the short term but can lead to chronic issues for you.

If you are worried about your drinking or someone else’s, then private drug and alcohol rehab may be the right option for you. If you’re not sure whether rehab is the right option, talk to our team today. We can offer expert advice and addiction treatment so you can achieve long-term recovery. Call today at 0800 880 7596.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: November 3, 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.