Have you ever felt a burning, itching, or painful sensation in your eyes that made it uncomfortable to wear your contact lenses during a night of drinking alcohol? If so, you are most likely experiencing the symptoms of dry eyes due to alcohol consumption.
Why does drinking alcohol cause dry eyes?
Alcohol is a dehydrating agent. It is a diuretic that forces your body to flush fluids from your blood through your renal system—a system that includes the kidneys (where urine is produced), ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Drinking alcohol dries out your entire body, including your eyes. In addition to dry eyes, symptoms of dehydration from alcohol intake can include:
- Dry mouth and lips
- Darker urine color
- Muscle cramps or muscle fatigue
If you are already suffering from dry eye syndrome without alcohol, then alcohol intake will only exacerbate these symptoms. Both contact lens wearers and non-contact lens wearers can experience dry eye syndrome, but the symptoms are often worse for contact lens wearers.
How do I prevent dry eyes and contact lens discomfort?
You don’t have to stop drinking alcohol altogether to avoid dry eyes and uncomfortable contact lenses. There are still ways to enjoy yourself and have a drink while taking care of your eyes and contact lenses.
To prevent dry eyes and contact lens discomfort during a night of drinking, here are some things you can do.
- Drink water
Make sure you drink plenty of water before heading out for the night. You should also drink at least one glass of water after every drink or bottle of beer.
- Use contact lens rewetting drops or artificial tears
Always bring contact lens rewetting drops or contact lens-safe artificial tears with you when going out for a drink. Use these products throughout the night as needed.
- Limit your alcohol consumption.
Try to avoid drinking too much. Excessive alcohol intake can affect your body beyond just dry eyes.
- Remove your contact lenses
If your contact lenses aren’t absolutely necessary, you can remove them before you start drinking. If your vision is too impaired without contact lenses, then consider wearing your eyeglasses for the night.
- Pay attention to the air quality
Drinking can cause dry eyes, but smoking can make your dry eyes even worse. If you smoke, try not to smoke too many cigarettes during the night. If you don’t smoke, then avoid being near people who are smoking.
Keep these tips in mind for the next time you go out drinking with your friends. Just remember that our advice isn’t meant to replace the advice of a licensed eye care professional. If you still experience dry eyes even after following the tips we’ve mentioned, then consult your eye care professional immediately.