Alcohol consumption among young adults is widely accepted in modern society and may be the starting point for abusive use of alcohol at later stages of life. Chronic alcohol exposure can lead to visual function impairment and the impact of alcohol on vision and broader health can extend beyond what we feel in the moment.
In regards to colour vision deficiency, the condition is mostly inherited. Other causes include certain eye diseases and medication. More men than women are affected. Colour blindness usually involves the inability to distinguish between shades of red and green.
However, reports and studies have shown you can have colour vision deficiency if you consume large amounts of alcohol. You may notice it initially with the blurred and double vision characteristic when you are drunk. This happens because alcohol slows the communication between the eyes and the brain. Lesser known is the impairment to colour vision. Specific shades of colour become more difficult to differentiate when under the influence.
A study of 136 people of whom 16 were undergoing treatment in a detoxification centre noticed a severe deterioration in colour vision. Colour loss was primarily in the blue-yellow range; however, 4 of the 16 people from the detoxification centre presented complex a deficiency in the perception of colours, patterns including red-green loss. This raises the question of possible progressive deterioration.
Multiple regression analysis showed that colour vision loss was significantly related to both age (p less than 0.001) and alcohol intake (p less than 0.01). These results underline the importance of taking into account the contribution of alcohol consumption in studies on acquired deficiency in the perception of colours.
At more advanced stages of chronic alcoholism, colour vision dysfunction appears to be associated with decreased visual acuity, contrast sensitivity losses, visual field central defects, and anatomical signs of retinal damage. The results suggest that colour vision changes related to chronic alcoholism can occur.