Ask an Optometrist – How does alcohol consumption impact my eye health?

Dr. Melissa Ah-Seng discusses how alcohol consumption can contribute to dry eyes. 
It’s common knowledge that a few too many bevy’s can leave you with a nasty hangover in the morning – but did you know it can also contribute to dry eyes? Ever notice that your contact lenses feel like sandpaper after you’re coming home from a night at the bar? Yup, blame it on the alcohol.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which acts on your kidneys to increase urine output.  Alcohol also reduces the production of vasopressin, a hormone that is responsible for your kidneys reabsorbing water.
This leads to frequent trips to the bathroom – sound familiar? With fluid leaving the body at an increased rate, dehydration will start to set in. Your eyes will also start to feel that effect.  

Dry, red, irritated eyes are not uncommon after consuming alcohol. But don’t fret! Here are some tips to help reduce the chances of your eyes feeling like the Sahara Desert; 

  • No drinking is the best policy, but if you plan on drinking then do so in moderation.  The volume of the beverage does not dictate how much fluid you will pee out (i.e. shots are not necessarily better than a pint.  The alcohol content is what matters!)
  • Make sure you re-hydrate!  Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you have.  Not only will it help lessen your chance of a hangover, it will help keep those eyeballs moist.
  • Bring some artificial tears with you to help replace moisture when needed. 
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