How Substance Abuse Affects Eye Health

It is a well known fact that substance abuse is destructive to the body. There is not one system or organ that is unaffected by the abuse of drugs, alcohol, food or any other substance that alters the body’s chemistry. There is a lot known about the damage that alcohol does to the liver, or the damage that a drug overdose can do to the heart. One organ that is seldom discussed in the light of substance abuse is the human eye. Studies are beginning to indicate that, like every other organ, the eye’s health is indeed affected by the abuse of substances to a measurable extent.

eye health and substance abuse

One of the substances that damage’s the eye’s health the most when abused is prescription medications. One of the most commonly abused substances, prescription medications have been found to cause disease in the eyes when abused, ranging from cataracts, uveal tract disease, glaucoma and other optic nerve diseases. Prescription medication abuse is on the rise and can be lethal in some instances.
Another substance that has been found to be damaging to the eye is alcohol. Most adults are aware that drinking too much leads to inflamed, irritated eyes in the day or two that follow, but the effects of long term alcohol abuse are less well known. Cataract development has been observed due to extended alcohol abuse, as well as ocular rosacea and double vision. Some alcoholic beverages that contain an extremely high alcohol content have caused temporary and permanent blindness in people. There are certain chemicals, additives and preservatives in food that have been found to cause eye disease as well.
Substance abuse is a common health problem in North America and relatively easy to fall into. Between food, alcohol and drugs, there are a number of substances that have the potential to be abused. Because eye sight is so essential to our day to day activities, it should be a priority to understand what substances, chemicals and activities can jeopardize it in order to act accordingly and receive substance abuse treatment when necessary.