New evidence suggests that alcohol leaves behind more than just a sore head. A recent study has shown the dehydrating effects of alcohol can irritate the eyes and cause symptoms of dry eye for people with otherwise healthy eyes. Drinking water before bed and using lubricant eye drops without preservative could be the answer – Clinitas Soothe is available in small 0.5ml vials and contains enough for even the longest of parties!
Chris Miller of Cambridge-based Altacor, a specialist ophthalmic products company, explains that there is more to tears than just salty water.
“Lubrication of the eye is very sophisticated. The eye is covered with a film of tears every time you blink. However, when people stare at computer screens the amount of times they blink is reduced by around 50%, severely decreasing lubrication of the eye. The festive season for many involves higher levels of alcohol consumption and this may cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms.”
A study published earlier this year in Ophthalmology has shown that alcohol induces dry eye syndrome in individuals with previously healthy eyes. The study suggests alcohol acts as a solvent to the lipid layer of the tear film thus reducing lubrication through greater evaporation of the tears and reduction in the tear film thickness. The volunteers in the study also reported discomfort, burning sensations and irritation of the eyes.
Chris continues; “What is even more worrying is these volunteers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.07%, which is below BAC limits for driving in the UK. This means these volunteers eyes’ were clearly affected with quite a small amount of alcohol.”
As a precaution, Chris suggests drinking lots of water while consuming alcohol and using the Clinitas Soothe to help keep the eyes refreshed.
Chris also suggests considering using eye drops at any event where you are likely to be drinking to help your eyes cope with the solvent properties of alcohol. Bathing the eyes when you get home and gently massaging them to stimulate the oil producing glands, which contribute to the tear composition, is also recommended.
Using preservative-free eye drops is safe even if you are on other medication or wear contact lenses. Clinitas Soothe has a high concentration of sodium hyaluronate, which provides a long period of relief. It also comes in resealable vials ready for a quick application as needed. Clinitas Soothe is available from opticians and pharmacists including Boots. The sister product Clinitas is available on prescription from your doctor.