Alcohol and dry eye


Did you know that alcohol can affect the eyes and can cause dry eye? In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the link between alcohol and dry eye.


Alcohol can have harmful effects on our bodies, but its impact on our eyes is less well known. Alcohol has a real impact on eye health, and various problems can be associated with alcohol consumption. Dry eye, which occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears are of poor quality, can be a consequence of alcohol consumption. It can cause itching, burning or redness. Although other factors such as age and environmental conditions are also involved, alcohol does play a role in this problem.


In what ways can alcohol affect vision?


Drinking alcohol can have several harmful effects on vision, including:


– Blurred vision: Alcohol can affect the ability of the muscles in the eye to contract properly, which can lead to blurred vision or double vision.

– Higher sensitivity to light: Some people may experience increased sensitivity to light after drinking alcohol, which can cause visual discomfort in bright light.

– Reduced visual field: Excessive alcohol consumption can also alter visual perception, reducing the field of vision and our ability to make out details.

– Risk of eye disease: Excessive alcohol consumption carries a risk of developing certain eye diseases, such as optic neuropathy. This condition is characterised by damage to the optic nerve, which is essential for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain.

– Dry eye: Alcohol can lead to reduced tear production or impaired tear quality, which can result in dry eye.


Why can alcohol cause dry eye?


First of all, alcohol has an effect on tear production. Tears are essential to keep the eyes hydrated and protected from external irritants. Natural tear production tends to decrease with age, which can contribute to the development of dry eye. Alcohol consumption can aggravate this phenomenon by accelerating the ageing of the cells responsible for tear production.


In addition, alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body and therefore the eyes, making them dry and irritated. Dehydration can affect all tissues and organs in the body, including the eyes. Tears, which are essential to keeping the eyes hydrated, are also affected by dehydration. Excessive dehydration can reduce the tear film that covers the surface of the eye, leading to dry eye.


Finally, alcohol is a major oxidant that has a negative effect on the eyes. When we drink alcohol, our body reacts by producing substances called free radicals. These free radicals are like “bad” molecules that can damage the cells in our body, including those in our eyes. The body therefore needs antioxidants to prevent eye problems such as dry eye.


A few tips for limiting dry eye


  1. Limit your alcohol consumption: Reducing your alcohol intake can help minimise the symptoms of dry eye.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water on a regular basis to maintain optimal hydration (between 1.5 and 2 litres of water per day).
  3. Avoid dry or irritating environments: Avoid areas where the air is dry, such as heated areas in winter and air-conditioned areas in summer, as this can aggravate dry eye. Use an air humidifier, if necessary, to keep the air moist.
  4. Attend to eyelid hygiene regularly: To limit the symptoms of dry eye, take care of your eyelids. Hygiene involves four steps: heating, massage, cleaning and rinsing (click here to see our full tutorial).
  5. Make sure you blink fully and regularly: Blinking is essential to spread out the tear film, which hydrates the surface of the eye. The recommended blinking rate is 15 times per minute.



Alcohol is dangerous to health and should be consumed in moderation.


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