The state of Britain's eyesight

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The ageing process spares no mercy on the body and the eyes are no exception. A host of conditions can cause vision loss as you age, many of which – thankfully – do not lead to blindness. However, there are non-natural causes of blindness to be aware of.

Drinking too much alcohol can turn this nightmare into a reality.

Waking up with painful, bloodshot eyes after a night on the booze is a familiar complaint among Britons.

However, having one tipple too many can lead to long-term complications.

According to eye health body OCL Vision, “drinking too much alcohol can lead to sight loss”.

As OCL Vision explains, “alcohol-related blindness is known as toxic amblyopia”.

The long-term effects do not stop there. “If too much alcohol is consumed over a long period of time, it can affect communication between the brain’s neurotransmitters and the eyes,” warns OCL Vision.

The health body continues: “Messages between the brain and the eyes are slowed down, leading to double or distorted vision.”

It adds: “Those who drink alcohol excessively are at risk of developing cataracts.”

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Cataracts are when the lens, a small transparent disc inside your eye, develops cloudy patches.

Another long-term complication caused by excessive drinking is optic neuropathy.

Optic neuropathy is a condition which is developed as a result of drinking or smoking excessively.

“Although painless, you begin to lose your vision, struggle to differentiate between colours and gradually lose your peripheral vision,” explains eye surgery Optimax.

The health body continues: “This gets progressively worse over time and long-term consumption of alcohol on a regular basis is one of the main causes.

“It is also thought to be contributed to by the nutritional deficiencies which come with alcohol consumption.”

How to cut back

Given the risks posed by excessive alcohol consumption, it’s imperative that you don’t overdo it.

Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.

“If you drink as much as 14 units a week, it’s best to spread this evenly over three or more days,” advises the NHS.

The health body continues: “If you’re trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, it’s a good idea to have several alcohol-free days each week.”

It defines regular or frequent drinking as most days and weeks.

“The risk to your health is increased by drinking any amount of alcohol on a regular basis.”

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