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You'll Knock Your Eye Out! The Correct Way to Pop the Cork

Don't let a champagne cork flying at highway speeds ruin your New Year's celebration.

Ah, Champagne (or other sparkling wines)! What better way then to bring in the New Year and recover the next day with a batch of mimosas. 

But don't begin unlucky '13 seeking medical attention after attempting to uncork your bottle of bubbly improperly. According to the Amercian Academy of Ophthalmology, the high pressure inside a champagne bottle – at 90 lbs per square inch – will launch the cork at 50 mph.

Put your or a party-goers face in front of that and you're looking at either serious eye injury – rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma or damage to the eye bone structure – or potential blindness. 

For a safe celebration, follow these EyeSmart 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.
  • Don't even think about using a cork screw!
  • 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. 

Or view a video demonstration of proper champagne cork removal, and see how the force of a champagne cork can shatter glass. 

If you do experience an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist – an eye physician and surgeon.

For more information about keeping eyes healthy during holiday celebrations and all year round, visitwww.geteyesmart.org.

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