Researchers in Canada recently studied how drinking a “legal” amount of alcohol affects vision. What they discovered is that up to 30% of vision is impaired even before participants hit the legal blood alcohol concentration limit, which is 0.08% in most states.
The researchers used a process called the Hermann Grid for the study. One group of participants consumed nonalcoholic drinks; the other consumed enough alcohol to get just under the legal limit. Both groups then looked at a grid of black squares on a white background to estimate the number of ghost-like dark spot illusions they saw at the intersections of the grid.
Participants who consumed alcohol were 30% less effective in distinguishing contrast of the spots in the grid as they approached the legal blood alcohol limit.
The results of this study showed that drinking alcohol will make it difficult to distinguish differences between objects based on lightness and darkness. Your vision may be impaired by up to 30% when driving at night or at twilight under the influence of just one or two alcoholic drinks.
Everyone should take note of this study, whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, have perfect vision or have had LASIK vision correction. No one is immune from the effects of alcohol, and even if you “feel” good enough to drive after having one or two drinks, your vision may still be impaired.
At Victoria Eye Center we inform all of our patients when they can safely consume alcohol before and after eye procedures, such as LASIK. We encourage all patients to be responsible when drinking and always have a designated driver. To learn more about LASIK, including the cost of LASIK in Victoria, schedule a free LASIK Consultation with Dr. Boozalis at Victoria Eye Center. Call 800-833-0234 or visit victoriaeyecenter.com today.