Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In order for everyone to enjoy a fun, safe and injury-free New Year's Eve, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is providing instruction on how to properly open a champagne bottle.

  • 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

A cork can fly up to 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle, generating a force powerful enough to shatter glass. Eye-related cork injuries can lead to acute glaucoma, a detached retina, and/or corneal scarring, all of which can result in decreased vision. Follow these simple tips and have a safe and happy 2012!