On drinking oneself blind

To put aside one urban myth,  alcohol sold legally for drinking purpose will not cause blindness, although it can kill you in sufficient quantity. But blindness can and does occur from mythl alcohol and various ‘moonshine” concoctions. As Slate reports,

“A New Zealand man recently went blind after drinking lots of vodka while on diabetes medication. Thankfully, doctors were able to restore his sight by administering him Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey. Can you really drink yourself blind?

“If you’re drinking moonshine, yes. Although alcohol that’s properly manufactured and regulated does not by itself cause blindness, people sometimes do go blind from drinking bootleg beverages.
One common concern with moonshine is lead poisoning, which has been linked to blindness. Since moonshine is unregulated, it has sometimes been manufactured using lead pipes, lead soldering, or even car radiators, which can contain high levels of lead. A 2003 study found that more than half of moonshine drinkers have enough lead in their bloodstream to exceed what the CDC calls a “level of concern.” However, most manufacturers of moonshine these days are aware of this danger and will avoid using lead in their distilling process.

Today the most common cause of blindness from drinking is methanol. Methanol, otherwise known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, can damage the optic nerve and even kill you in high concentrations.’

Full story at: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2012/12/blindness_treated_with_whiskey_can_you_really_lose_your_sight_from_drinking.html

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