Can your New Year’s celebration do harm to your eyes?


It is late December and now we are looking towards the New Year’s celebrations. Some of us may overdo it. The more you drink the more severe your hangover symptoms the next morning. The symptoms come from a physiological response to the presence of alcohol in your digestive and urinary systems – your stomach, kidneys, and bloodstream.

When you overindulge in alcohol:

  • The alcohol causes blood vessels in the eyes to get larger and fill with blood that creates a red bloodshot appearance.
  • Alcohol can stimulate the eye muscles causing the eyelids to twitch.
  • Alcohol slows the communication between the brain’s neurotransmitters causing distorted or double vision.
  • Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases the flow of urine, alcohol dehydrates the body so after consuming alcohol one wakes up with dry irritated eyes.
  • Alcohol decreases the constricting of the pupils at the correct levels according to the amount of light surrounding them. This affects the eye’s ability to detect contrast which is the difference between light and dark by about 30%.
  • Alcohol can make the eyes extremely sensitive to light.
  • Prolonged alcohol use can eventually damage the optic nerve

Now that you know some of the effects of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol on the eyes and the body. It is wise for someone to limit their consumption of alcohol to special occasions. When enjoyed in moderation, alcohol will not cause permanent damage to your eyesight.

I would be remiss in my duty as a doctor if I did not remind everyone of the harm to yourself and others by driving under the influence of alcohol. All the physiological responses discussed earlier in this blog can affect driving skills. If you find yourself having overindulged give up the keys, call for rideshare or a cab, stay at a friend’s place or a hotel, the effects of alcohol consumption can have lasting ramifications for others. All the short-term symptoms you have can kill or harm someone else.

Have a safe and happy new year!







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