Google+
All About Dry Eye Blog

Drinking Alcohol Worsens Dry Eye, Study Finds

A recent study conducted by the Hallym University College of Medicine has confirmed that drinking alcohol can directly disturb the ocular surface.¹

The Korea-based study was comprised of twenty healthy males with no history of eye disease. Ten men served as subjects, while the others served as controls for the study. The subjects were instructed to drink 0.75 grams of alcohol (that’s about two beers) over a two hour period. A few hours later, alcohol was detected in the tears of all ten subjects.

Though by early morning the traces of alcohol were seemingly gone, findings indicated that the booze induced tear hyperosmolarity and a significantly shortened tear break up time in all of the men who drank it. In many cases, both hyperosmolarity and shortened tear break-up time can result in dry eyes.

The evidence found during this study suggests that the effects of even a small amount of alcohol can increase and exacerbate symptoms in dry eye patients. Researchers have been paying close attention to the effects our food and drink consumption have on dry eye disease, only recently a different study linked caffeine to dry eye improvements and another one suggested that foods with high levels of Vitamin A can also have a soothing effect on symptoms. (So, even if you have to cut down on beers and mojitos, feel free to have a cup of coffee and some sweet potato fries on the side!)

Remember to drink a sufficient amount of water (8-10 glasses a day) and avoid alcohol when dealing with dry eye symptoms.

Do you find that drinking alcohol affects your dry eye issues? Do you think alcohol could be related to your flare-ups? Leave a comment and let us know!

¹ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22330961

Comments

  1. I find when I drink red wine – my dry eye gets intense- particularly the morning after. Anyone else had the same experience? I try to drink a glass of water for every glass of wine.
    -Vi

    • atayraco says:

      I raise a glass to Vi and Geo! I have the same problem with my eyes. Red wine in particular seems to do the worst damage (or maybe it’s just my imagination? I do like white wine a lot more haha). Drinking a glass of water for every wine glass is the way to go. I try to drink plenty of coconut water the day after to re-hydrate my eyes, seems to do the trick for now.

    • Yes, I’ve noticed the same. Had dry eye even before the lasik surgery. I love red wine but find that the condition gets worse while drinking it. Will try a glass of water between wines, I also take a salmon oil supplement everyday and normally drink 70-80 oz of water daily. Oh and, Restasis. THANKS.

  2. I do have the same problem. There is nohing you can do. It is due to dehitration. Drinking water helps a lot, even eye drops too. I recomend you never stop drinking wine :). Cheers!

  3. Same conclusion as above. Good to see I am not alone

  4. Cathy Fenster says:

    Drinking wine seems to give me dry eye (itchy, crusty)….If I don’t drink, I don’t have symptoms. I found this article while trying to see if this was a common symptom. What is sad, is I love drinking red wine (drinking water and eye drops don’t seem to compensate).

    • Hi Cathy. Thanks for your comment. I have the exact same problem. While matching a glass of water to each glass of wine helps minimally- it’s not enough to subside the discomfort! The fact is that alcohol is dehydrating and our body needs to be hydrated in order for our eyes to produce a healthy tear film. Perhaps try upping your h2o intake throughout the day prior to starting drinking. If you tend to have a few drinks on Friday, for example, why not make it your mission to drink extra water and increase your omega-3 intake on that day before symptoms arise?

  5. Guest 001 says:

    I knew it!!! I have extremely dry eyes and even one gets subconjunctival hemorrhage, and it somehow overlaps after drinking red wine which i can never refuse to. But doctors always say there is no connection between these 2. But as I have experienced in my life and read your comments after all there is a connection. From now on, a glass of water must be accompanied by each glass of wine. thanks for all your comments.

  6. FRANCOISE POURCEL says:

    I have extremely dry eyes. I have surgically closed the ducts, it is a little bit better, but still, I have difficult days. When they are very dry, and itchy and the eye lids feel like cardboard, I have studied if an external element had changed something. I think that the consumption of alcohol, for me wine red or white, is drying the eyes. I had wine for a few consecutive days (1 to 2 glasses for dinner) and I felt awful. Nothing helped ( humidifier, eye drops, warm compresses…..not even a rainy day, usually helpful when you have dry eyes) I have stopped the wine and after 2 days, I feel a relief. So reading these testimonies I am convinced that unfortunately any kind of alcohol is bad when you have dry eyes

    • I have to agree, Francoise. Personally, my eyes feel terrible even 24 hours after drinking wine. The best advice I can think of is to match each glass of wine with a glass of water. Further, take an omega-3 supplement and avoid sugary/starchy food on Fridays if you know you’ll be having alcohol in the evening.

  7. Recently, I had my tear duct plugged and passed a more comfortable night sleeping. Then the very next day a met up with a few buds and had margaritas. Horrible night with eyelid sticking to my eyeball, horrible. I’m convinced that it was the drinks especially now after reading what other dry eye sufferers say.

Leave a Reply