The following public service announcement was provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
A champagne toast is a great way to welcome 2013, but be mindful as you uncork the bottle: warm bottles of champagne and improper cork-removal techniques cause serious, potentially blinding eye injuries every year.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that 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 — fast enough to shatter glass.
It's also fast enough to permanently damage vision.
Champagne cork mishaps can lead to various, serious eye injuries, such as rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular bleeding, dislocation of the lens and damage to the eye’s bone structure. These injuries sometimes require urgent eye surgeries such as stitches, and can even lead to blindness in the affected eye.
For a safe celebration, review these tips on how to properly open a bottle of champagne:
- 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.
If you do experience an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist – an eye physician and surgeon.