Eye Injury During Champagne Celebrations

Submitted by Josh Talkington on December 29, 2016

A popping cork can cause a serious eye injury and a trip to the eye doctor. As the New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, it is important to think about some of the dangers you don’t hear about.  Champagne and sparkling wine are usually part of celebrations, but please take be careful so your celebration doesn’t end in a trip to the emergency room.  Remember when you pop the bubbly to do so in a safe manner!

A Champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it leaves the bottle — fast enough to shatter glass. If the cork hits an eye, it can cause bleeding, corneal abrasions and even glaucoma.

 

Follow these five tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to prevent a serious eye injury when opening your bubbly:

  • Just chill.

 

Champagne has tons of bubbles filled with gas that expand when warm. With each degree in temperature, pressure builds that can make a cork fly out unexpectedly. To preserve your eyesight (and the taste of your bubbly), always chill your Champagne in the fridge or on ice to about 45 degrees.

2) Don’t shake, rattle…or point.

While it looks like fun in the movies, don’t shake the bottle. Agitating Champagne increases pressure. Also, don’t point the bottle at anyone! Beyond being impolite, it could cost someone an eye.

3) Control the cork.

After tearing off the foil, hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood. Never use a corkscrew to open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine.

4) Towel, tilt, twist.

Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork. Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders. Slowly and firmly twist the bottle at its base while holding the cork — not the other way around — to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using slight downward pressure just as the cork breaks free, creating the signature pop.

5) Cheers!

 

Time to toast. Clink carefully to avoid breaking any glasses. Here’s to celebrating responsibly! If you do sustain an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek emergency eye care from one of our ophthalmologists.

I know it is fun to hear that POP sound as the cork flies out.  If you HAVE to hear that popping sound, make sure the bottle is facing away from you and others, including animals, and is pointed towards a wall or ceiling and nothing breakable.  Look in the opposite direction UNTIL you hear the POP and then turn your head back.

While it is fun to enjoy any celebration with a bubbly drink, be sure to be smart and safe so the celebration can continue until YOU want it to end.

Happy New Year!

An added tip….if you choose to set off fireworks during your celebration, be sure to NOT drink too much champagne and always wear protective eye wear and gloves!