Your life and eyes 2 min read

Resetting your eye health with dry January

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If you have been taking part in dry January then congratulations; you are halfway there! If you haven’t chosen to take part this year, then this blog might offer a little inspiration when it comes to looking after your health.

Many people choose to do dry January for many different reasons. Cutting down on the amount of alcohol or the frequency of drinking can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and health. Some even do it for charity too.

Giving up drinking for a month

The culture of drinking in the UK can sometimes be excessive, but you might be surprised to learn that being teetotal is becoming more common. In 2017, a survey revealed around 1/5th of adults aged 16 and over in the UK don’t drink.

A person refusing a pint of beer while taking part in dry January

In England, around 18% of adults say they haven’t consumed alcohol in the last year and would call themselves a non-drinker.

Spending at least a month alcohol-free can provide a number of benefits to your overall health. This can include lowering your blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of diabetes.

During the previous dry January periods, 88% of participants saved money, while 71% claimed to sleep better and 58% lost weight.

Effects on your eye health

You probably already knew that excessive alcohol can play havoc with your liver health, as well as resulting in a dreaded hangover. However, did you know that too much alcohol can have a direct impact on your eye health?

Man experiencing a hangover in the morning after drinking alcohol

Over-consumption of alcohol can cause both short and long-term effects on your vision and eye health. When you take part in dry January, you aren’t just looking after your waistline and your bank balance; you’re looking after your vision too.

Reduced intake of alcohol or no alcohol at all can reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration, and reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Both of these eye conditions are closely linked to factors like alcohol, as well as other lifestyle factors.

By having a break from alcohol, you can also cut down the number of times you experience blurry vision from being intoxicated. When you drink, it causes a delay between the brain and the eyes. This can weaken the eye-muscle coordination and result in blurry vision.

Taking part in dry January can help to improve your overall health, which can also have an indirect impact on your eye health. Drinking less alcohol can help to reduce your blood pressure, which is great for reducing the risk of heart attack or a stroke. However, it can also reduce the risk of hypertensive retinopathy; a condition that damages the blood vessels in your retina due to high blood pressure.

Reducing your alcohol intake can also ensure your body is better hydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration can lead to dry eye syndrome. This can cause irritation and may increase your risk of eye infections. However, within a week of not drinking your body can undo the effects of dehydration, especially if you are drinking enough water.

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