Drinking too much can affect your sight and in some cases even lead to blindness, an expert has warned.

This week is Alcohol Awareness Week and ophthalmologist David Teenan has highlighted the negative impact that heavy drinking can have on your eyes. Alcohol misuse can cause damage to an individual’s optic nerves which could then see their vision deteriorate.

Most people know that getting drunk can caused your sight to become temporarily blurred. But many are unaware of the longer-term vision issues which can be caused by alcoholism and problem drinking.

Potential issues include macular degeneration, which affects a person’s ability to see clearly and can cause issues with their central field of vision. Those suffering from the condition can find it hard to read, distinguish colours and recognise faces.

Alcohol damages the optic nerve

Dr Teenan said: “Alcohol is toxic and as with any toxic substance, it will affect the body by killing cells in tissue. The tissue on the optic nerve is particularly delicate and can be damaged easily.”

“Toxins from alcohol in the blood stream will also reduce the flow of nutrients to the nerves and macula – the part of the eye that helps us focus our vision – leading to Macular Degeneration.”

Other eye problems which can be caused by drinking include the formation of cataracts and in some cases total blindness.

Dr Teenan added that older people were most at risk from damaging their sight through drinking.

But he said: “Consumed in moderation, it will not have the same negative impact on vision that binge drinking or regular heavy drinking can.”

AlphaBiolabs carries out drug and alcohol tests for a wide range of companies and organisations as well as the general public. Alcohol tests can help detect problematic drinking patterns and can also be used to monitor an individual’s rehabilitation and recovery.

Workplace alcohol tests can be an effective way of discouraging alcohol abuse at work so employers can identify individuals who may have a problematic drinking habit before it causes an accident or affects productivity.