SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Academy of Ophthalmology

December 17, 2009 10:30 ET

A Cork in the Eye Is No Way to Spend the Holiday

Opening a Bottle of Champagne Properly Prevents Eye Injuries; Informative Video Shows the Powerful Impact of a Cork as It Breaks Glass

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - December 17, 2009) - For many, the countdown on New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate with friends and family and pop open a bottle of bubbly, but for others, it could mean getting hit in the eye with a champagne cork that could lead to a trip to the emergency room and even permanent vision loss.

"Champagne cork eye injuries can have a devastating impact on your vision," said Kuldev Singh, M.D., M.P.H., clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Professor of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine. "Eye-related cork injuries can lead to acute glaucoma, detached retina and staining of the cornea, all of which can result in decreased vision. Many champagne cork-related eye injuries necessitate urgent surgery to prevent significant, permanent vision loss -- a terrible way to spend the holidays."

A cork can fly up to 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle. "Incorrect popping of champagne corks is one of the most common holiday-related eye hazards. Anything that travels with such force can have a dangerous effect if it strikes your eye," said Dr. Singh.

Every year, warm bottles of champagne, coupled with bad cork-removal techniques are responsible for causing serious, potentially blinding injuries. "If you follow a few simple steps to properly open a bottle of champagne, you can keep your holidays enjoyable and safe," says Dr. Singh.

Here are some tips on opening a bottle of champagne properly:

--  Make sure sparkling wine is chilled to at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit
    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.
--  To open the bottle safely, hold down the cork with the palm of your
    hand while removing the wire hood. Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle
    away from yourself and from any bystanders.
--  Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
--  Keep the bottle at a 45-degree angle as you slowly and firmly twist
    the bottle while holding the cork to break the seal. Continue to hold the
    cork while twisting the bottle. Continue until the cork is almost out of
    the neck. Counter the force of the cork using slight downward pressure just
    as the cork breaks free from the bottle.
--  Never use a corkscrew to open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine.
    

Watch a video (http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/injuries/holiday.cfm) showing the force of a cork breaking glass. More information about eye safety and eye health is available at www.GetEyeSmart.org.

Broadcast editors: B-roll footage demonstrating how a champagne cork can shatter glass is available.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons -- Eye M.D.s -- with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" -- opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all, eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at www.aao.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    American Academy of Ophthalmology
    Media Relations
    (415) 561-8534
    media@aao.org