Holiday Safety: Tip No. 16

Dec. 22, 1999
How to avoid serious eye injuries during your celebrations this holiday.

Is your champagne Y2K ready? Before you open a bottle of your favorite bubbly this New Year's Eve, make sure its cold.

According to The American Academy of Opthamology (AAO), warm bottles of champagne, coupled with bad technique, are responsible for causing serious, blinding injuries.

Dr. Anne Sumers, Academy spokesperson, said that she has seen the results of these two factors -- ruptured eye balls, detached retinas and the loss of an eye.

"It usually doesn't happen with the first bottle of champagne, because it has been on ice, but with a third or fourth bottle that hasn't been fully chilled. A warm bottle explodes much sooner and with greater force than a cold bottle," said Sumers.

The AAO offers some tips for protecting your eyes when opening champagne.

  • Keep the bottle cold.
  • Hold the cork down with the palm of your hand while you untwist the wire hood.
  • Point the bottle away from yourself and others. Place a towel over the top and tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle. Slowly and firmly, twist the cork to break the seal.
  • Keeping the bottle at a 45-degree angle, hold it firmly with one hand and use the other to slowly turn the cork with a slight upward pull. Continue until the cork is almost out of the neck. Counter the force of the cork by applying slight downward pressure just as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

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