Vision Impaired by Moderate Drinking

Even mild alcohol intoxication can seriously impair drinkers’ visual acuity, according to a study from the University of Washington.
Researchers found that test subjects who consumed just enough alcohol to reach half the legal alcohol intoxication level in the U.S. performed poorly on tests of their ability to notice an unexpected visual object when they were performing another simple task. Researchers said this was the first study to demonstrate that alcohol can cause such “inattentional blindness.”
“We rely on our ability to perceive a multitude of information when we drive (speed limit, road signs, other cars, etc.),” said study lead author Seema Clifasefi. “If even a mild dose of alcohol compromises our ability to take in some of this information, in other words, limits our attention span, then it seems likely that our driving ability may also be compromised.”
The study was published in the July 2006 issue of the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
Clifasefi, S. L., Takarangi, M. K. T., Bergman, J. S. (2006) Blind drunk: the effects of alcohol on inattentional blindness. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20(5): 697-704.

Source:Reported in Medical News Today July 7, 2006

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