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Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2012 Feb;19(1):8-15. doi: 10.3109/09286586.2011.591037.

Alcohol consumption, drinking pattern, and self-reported visual impairment.

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Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services (OSELS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



To examine whether alcohol drinking status and drinking pattern are associated with self-reported visual impairment.


We used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a state-based telephone health survey conducted by random-digit dialing among non-institutionalized US adults. The Visual Impairment and Access to Eye Care module was implemented among 42, 713 adults aged 50 years and older in 2005 and 2006. Visual impairment was defined as any degree of difficulty experienced in recognizing a friend across the street or reading print in newspaper, magazine, recipe, menu, or numbers on the telephone with usual correction. Drinking patterns included drinking quantity (drinks per drinking day), frequency (drinking days in the past month), and binge drinking.


After adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, smoking status, Body Mass Index, history of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and eye diseases, current drinking status was not associated with distance and/or near vision impairment. However, drinking more than 1 drink per drinking day (odds ratio [OR], 1.21; 95% confidence intervals [CI], 1.09-1.35) and binge drinking (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.14-1.53) were associated with visual impairment among current drinkers.


Among current drinkers, drinking patterns were significantly associated with near and distance vision impairment. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm whether drinkers who drink beyond drinking guidelines, especially binge drinkers, are at higher risk of visual impairment than those who drink at lower levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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