Why is my vision worse when I drink soda, or for my Michigan friends and family, when I drink pop? It’s a random question, I know, but the optician in me has been bothered by this question for a while.
Since I have been trying to lose weight, I have not been drinking as much soda. I still drink it, I just make sure to include it in MyFitnessPal calories, so when I do drink it, it is usually one can of Coke followed by one or more glasses of water. On rare occasions, I have a “I don’t care” day and don’t track all of my calories. These days are usually when I have plans with friends and I just want to enjoy myself. Last night was one of those nights. I had plans to go out with friends so I was careful to not eat too much during the day, keeping my available calories on the high side.
Our plans changed slightly, so we ended up going to a local bar I had never been to before. They served Pepsi, not Coke. I would usually opt for water with lemon, but I wanted something more and didn’t feel like drinking alcohol. I had three glasses and no water for the night.
I fell asleep on the couch watching tv, nothing unusual, but Bella, my Mastiff, woke me up at 3am. I still had lights on, the tv was loud, and I had to throw a load of clothes in the laundry, so I stood up to fix all of it and go to bed. I looked out my patio door to see what the dogs were doing and noticed halos all around the lights. My eyes felt heavy and dry, I couldn’t focus clearly on the clock. Since my LASIK surgery, I hate when my vision is blurry but I know it’s temporary. I really hate halos. I always notice them more after I’ve consumed a larger amount of soda (last time was after leaving a movie theater).
I saw the pattern, the question still loomed as to WHY….now, common sense tells me it is because I’m dehydrated and dehydration affects your whole body, including the vision, but I wondered if there was more too it. I began my Google search, since there is always an answer in Google, it might not always be right, but there is always an answer. First five results were about caffeine affecting your vision. Great! There are answers. Until I started reading them. The answers were about a study showing where consuming coffee daily can affect your vision health. I’m not a coffee drinker but kept reading because I thought it might be the same thing, until I get to the line….
Researchers found that participants who reported drinking three cups or more of caffeinated coffee per day were at a higher risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma. The results were interesting though in the fact that they linked coffee consumption to exfoliation glaucoma, and ruled out other drinks and foods that were caffeinated.
The optician in me was interested in learning more about this study, but I wanted to stay on track. I found a blog where someone noticed worse vision after sugar binging since they went paleo. Of course, everyone went to diabetic conclusions, which I have been tested often for diabetes and I do not have it, plus my vision isn’t affected when I eat chocolate, only when I consume soda. Still no answer.
I then when to my scale, not that I wanted to check my weight after a “cheat” evening, but my scale also measures BMI, body fat, and water. 3:48am and I’m stepping on a scale. 26%. I knew it was lower then my typical percentage of anywhere from 33-37% but I realized I had no idea what it should be. Back to Google.
50%!?!? I was currently at 26%. First thing I did mentally was set a goal, not only for weight loss, but to also get to 40% water; steps to the goal of 5o+%. After reading a couple articles, I realized my water percentage should go up as I lose weight, but I still need to step up my water intake in general.
I think it’s safe to conclude consuming so much soda isn’t the sole contributor to my halo vision, but the lack of consuming enough water to counterbalance the soda consumption. I’m dehydrated, clearly, and my eyes are warning me to do something about it before it affects more of my health.
As an optician, I understand your eyes are the window to your health, so it is important to listen to what your eyes are telling you. When your vision changes in any way, process what was different in your day, if you can conclude what the cause was, great, if you cannot, make an appointment. It could be your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.
So now I know, if I’ve consumed a large amount of soda, I need to make sure I also drink plenty of water. If you are someone who notices a lot of halos at night, you might want to check your water percentage. For now, I will drink a glass of water, put some Refresh in my eyes and get a couple more hours of sleep.
Optician PSA: Even if your vision is perfect, get an eye exam ever 12-18 months. It truly is so much more than just a prescription for glasses or contacts.