PSA New Years Eve: Champagne Cork of Death

     December 31, 2011


“You’ll shoot your eye out!” is a phrase normally reserved for Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) and his Red Ryder BB gun from A Christmas Story, however, we’re repurposing it for your New Year’s celebration. Let’s face it, normal concerns regarding New Year’s Eve include: crowds, drinking and driving, bad weather and creepy Uncle Rick hitting on your girlfriend. With all of those distractions it’s no wonder that people forget about eye injuries until POP goes the champagne cork and now you can look forward to spending the rest of your holidays wearing an eye patch.

“A cork can fly up to 50 miles per hour as it leaves the bottle,” said Tamara Fountain, M.D., a clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Warm bottles of champagne and poor technique in removing the cork can result in serious, blinding eye injuries. Anything that travels with such momentum can have a devastating effect if it strikes your eye.”

That’s what she said. Hit the jump to learn how to save your eyes this holiday season.

new-years-eve-champagneWhile the featured video can be found below, here are some tips on opening a bottle of champagne properly from the American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO):

  • 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 your chances of 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.

If you managed to save both of your eyes, check out all of our previous PSAs here. Here’s wishing you a safe and injury free New Year’s Eve!

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