Though the holiday season is celebrated as a time spent with loved ones, it can also be extremely dangerous. Eating the holiday sweets can disturb your body's food clock, there is generally a rise in emergency room visits and, as we learned while watching A Christmas Carol, presents like B.B. guns can cause us to shoot our eyes out. Now the American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging us to be wary of another holiday foe: champagne corks. They say that opening champagne bottles incorrectly can cause adults to poke their eyes out.
In a statement released by the academy, the physicians proclaim, "Champagne bottles contain pressure as high as 90 pounds per square inch - more than the pressure found inside a typical car tire. This pressure can launch a champagne cork at 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, which is fast enough to shatter glass. Unfortunately, this is also fast enough to permanently damage vision."
They note that, when a champagne cork is flying, a person does not have enough time to react. Unfortunately, that span of time can cause a variety of serious eye injuries, like acute glaucoma, damage to the eye's bone structure, dislocation of the lens, ocular bleeding, retinal detachment and the rupture of the eye wall. These injuries can sometimes require emergency surgery, but can also lead to blindness in the affected eye.
The organization shares a variety of tips to help minimize the chances of an eye-related injury in the midst of your New Year's Eve celebration. First, to prepare, chill champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Warm bottles are more likely to have corks that pop unexpectedly. Then, when opening the bottle, do not shake it; shaking the bottle increases the speed at which a cork leaves the bottle. Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from your face and party guests. While doing so, hold down the cork while removing the wire cage. Then you should ideally place a towel over the top of the bottle, grasping the cork through the fabric. Pull the cork out of the bottle slowly, countering with a bit of pressure when the cork is close to the surface. The association reminds you to never use a corkscrew or a wine opener to open a champagne bottle.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology also provides a helpful video intended to share techniques to safely open a champagne bottle.