If you’re like millions of Americans, you’re probably going to be uncorking a bottle of bubbly this New Year’s Eve.
It’s the uncorking, however, that potentially can poke your eye out and possibly cause blindness, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns.
Improper cork removal can cause serious, potentially blinding injuries, including rupture of the eye wall, retinal detachment, bleeding, dislocation of the lens and damage to the eye’s bone structure.
Champagne bottles contain pressure as high as 90 pounds per square inch, more than the pressure found inside a typical car tire, the American Academy of Ophthalmology said. This pressure can cause a champagne cork to shoot at 50 mph as it leaves the bottle — fast enough to shatter glass. It is also fast enough to permanently damage vision.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these tips for how to porperly open a bottle of champagne to toast in the New Year.
- Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
- Don’t shake the bottle. Shaking increases the speed at which the cork leaves the bottle thereby increasing your chances of severe eye injury.
- Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood on the bottle.
- Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
- Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45 degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle.
To see the correct the technique for opening a bottle of champagne, watch this demonstration video.
If you do experience an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist — an eye physician and surgeon. For more information about keeping eyes healthy during holiday celebrations and all year round, visit www.geteyesmart.org.