SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Academy of Ophthalmology

December 15, 2011 10:00 ET

A Flying Champagne Cork Can Shatter Glass; Don't Let It Do the Same to Your Vision This Holiday Season

American Academy of Ophthalmology Shares Tips on How to Open a Bottle of Champagne and Prevent Eye Injuries

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 15, 2011) - Every year, warm bottles of champagne, coupled with bad cork-removal techniques are responsible for causing serious, potentially blinding eye injuries. According to eye medical doctors in the United States, incorrect popping of champagne corks is one of the most common holiday-related eye hazards. For instance, a cork can fly up to 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, generating a force powerful enough to shatter glass. Anything that travels with such force can have a dangerous effect upon impact with the eye. Eye-related cork injuries can lead to acute glaucoma, detached retina and staining of the cornea, all of which can result in decreased vision.

In order for everyone to enjoy a fun, safe and injury-free holiday, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is providing tips on how to properly open a bottle of champagne.

  • 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.

"Champagne cork eye injuries can have a devastating impact on your vision," said Kuldev Singh, M.D., ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Many champagne cork-related eye injuries necessitate urgent surgery to prevent significant, permanent vision loss -- a terrible way to spend the holidays. If you follow a few simple steps to properly open a bottle of champagne, you can keep your holidays enjoyable and safe.

For more information about keeping eyes healthy during the holidays and all year-round, visit Eye Smart, the Academy's public information website, which provides information about the importance of eye health. Through the EyeSmart program, ophthalmologists seek to empower people to preserve healthy vision, by providing the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. Visit www.geteyesmart.org to learn more.

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 30,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" -- ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org.

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