Champagne cork poppingNew Years Eve is the perfect time to celebrate the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  Just be smart so you don’t have to spend the first day of 2013 in my office with an eye injury.

A champagne cork can easily become a “high velocity missile” shooting at speeds of up to 40 miles-per-hour and traveling the distance from a held bottle to an eye in 0.05 seconds, twice as fast as the blink reflex.

A shot in the eye could cause major damage to almost any part of the eye – from a swollen cornea in the front of the eye all the way to a retinal detachment in the back of the eye.

Tips for safely opening a champagne bottle from eye doctor Dr. Patrick Versace:

1. Keep the bottle cold at all times – the colder the liquid, the less pressure in the bottle. Warm bottles of champagne are more likely to blow corks unexpectedly.

2. Be prepared for an unexpected explosion of the cork when the foil covering and wire hood are removed.

3. Drape a towel over the top of the bottle. Even if the cork does pop out it will be caught in the towel.

4. Grasp the cork with the towel and slowly and firmly twist it to break the seal, keeping the bottle at a 45-degree angle.

5. Never point the top of a champagne bottle towards any object you do not want to hit. Many people foolishly look down onto the top of the bottle as they open it and put their eyes at unnecessary risk.

As with other New Year’s safety tips, this one also includes alcohol.  Except an injury from a champagne cork will end your night before the first sip.

We would like to wish all of our patients and friends a great New Year and all the best in 2013!