Almost everyone starts off a new year with grand thoughts of taking better care of him or herself. A common resolution is to give up bad habits, especially those including alcohol and caffeinated beverages. You might have a good understanding of how these two substances impact your medical health, but did you know that your eye health is also affected when you use them?
As with most things in life, the use of caffeine has pros and cons. For dry eye sufferers, caffeine can be useful as it seems to increase tear production. A drawback to caffeine that is specific to caffeinated coffee is the increased risk of a condition called Exfoliation Glaucoma. In Exfoliation Glaucoma, the eye sheds little flakes that are then washed into the eye’s drainage system, clogging the pipeline. Internal eye pressure escalates and the higher pressure could result in permanent vision loss, even blindness. If you are a coffee lover, try to keep your consumption under three cups a day or switch some of your coffee drinks to decaf in the interest of protecting your eye health.
Since alcohol is a depressant, it’s a fairly logical assumption that excessive consumption will slow down the performance of your eyes. Your pupils will not react to light changes as quickly, you’ll have a harder time tracking moving objects and detecting color contrasts, and possibly lose some of your peripheral vision. You may have a very difficult time seeing as alcohol blurs your vision, and habitual drinkers could see these issues become permanent. Nutrition deficiencies caused by heavy alcohol consumption and damage to brain and eye tissue will destroy the quality of your eyesight.
The key to any lifestyle choice is moderation. While small amounts of either caffeine or alcohol probably won’t pose a major eye health risk, the more ingested of either, the more likely you’ll have a vision problem. For more information on the effects of alcohol and caffeine on your eye health, talk to your optometrist.