Alcohol and the Eye


In this article, we present a review of ocular conditions related to alcohol consumption. A search of the literature published from 1952 to March 2020 was performed. The titles and abstracts were screened and the eligible studies were selected. PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge database, Scopus, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were searched. We categorized the relationship between alcohol intake and ocular conditions by the type of ocular exposure to alcohol. Accordingly, ocular findings following acute alcohol intoxication, optic neuropathy following methanol toxicity, congenital conditions related to maternal alcohol consumption, and ocular disease related to chronic alcoholism are discussed. The main feature of alcohol intoxication in the eye is abnormal eye movement. Acute optic neuropathy secondary to methyl alcohol consumption is a serious ocular disease with permanent vision loss or scotoma. Prenatal exposure to ethanol may end in fetal alcohol spectrum disease, where ocular findings are a constant component. The association between chronic alcohol consumption and increased risks of cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, different types of optic neuropathy, impairment of visual quality, retinal vascular disease, and ocular surface disease has also been reported. Along with detrimental medical and social effects, the role of alcohol consumption in different ocular conditions should be considered, as alcohol-induced visual disturbances may contribute to the heavy burden of alcohol abuse on the healthcare system and overall quality of life.


Alcohol, Cornea, Dry Eye, Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol, Eye, Fetal Alcohol, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Methanol, Optic Neuropathy, Retinopathy, Teratogenicity

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