Eyesight: The non-alcoholic drink that may cause ‘blindness’

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Imagine a world without eyesight. If your eyes are in working order, that’s a tough challenge. However, your eyes are not infallible and it’s not just age which threatens them. Drinking carbonated beverages can also scupper your vision, warned Marko Obradovic, Editor at Pure Optical.

As the name suggests, carbonated beverages have undergone carbonation – addition of carbon dioxide gas to a beverage.

This is what gives carbonated drinks their sparkle and a tangy taste.

However, this process also produces some unwanted effects.

“Carbonated beverages can cause vision loss because they can irritate the eyes,” warned Mr Obradovic.

He cited a study which suggested carbonated drinks such as soda may raise the likelihood for a severe type of diabetic eye disease which can result in “blindness”.

The study in question, published in The study, published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, was the first to evaluate the link between soft drinks and what’s called proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy means new blood vessels and scar tissue have formed on your retina, which can cause significant bleeding and lead to retinal detachment, where the retina pulls away from the back of the eye.

If you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, there’s a very high risk you could lose your vision.

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The study, which pooled and analysed data from a food questionnaire, found consuming four or more cans (1.5 L) a week of diet soft drinks is associated with a more than twofold risk of having proliferative diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetes.

However, the researchers added that “longitudinal studies are needed to further elucidate the association and its underpinning mechanisms”.

Other culprits

According to Mr Obradovic, you should be careful with caffeine because it can dehydrate the eyes and lead to vision loss.

“Consuming too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages can trigger a sugar spike in your blood, which could cause vision problems or involuntary spasms of the eyelid (eye twitches),” warned the eye expert.

What’s more, drinking too much alcohol can lead to vision loss, he said.

“The most frequent symptom is double vision, or blurring of the eyes, as a result of excessive drinking.”

As Mr Obradovic explained, because alcohol consumption slows your reaction time and ability to coordinate, it also causes eye muscle coordination to decline.

He continued: “Although blindness caused by alcohol isn’t a common occurrence, it is possible.

“Unhealthy levels of alcohol consumption can lead to diminished peripheral vision, weakened eye muscles, a thinning of the cornea, and loss of colour vision – factors that can lead to permanent blindness.”

Finally, you should think twice before gorging on processed food.

The eye expert said “we are putting our eyes at risk of developing macular degeneration by ingesting highly processed, store-bought meals high in saturated fats, such as red meat, fatty dairy products, and fried foods”.

Mr Obradovic added: “Saturated fats and cholesterol can cause plaque buildup on macular vessels, which slows down blood flow to the eyes.”

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