If you’re the type of person to cringe in fear while watching someone open a champagne bottle or even protectively shield your eyes before the cork is released, you’re not overreacting: A champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it exits the bottle. If the cork hits someone in the eye, it can cause bleeding and abrasions.
“When a champagne cork flies, you really have no time to react and protect your delicate eyes,” Monica L. Monica, an ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology told ScienceDaily. “Uncontrolled champagne corks can lead to painful eye injuries and devastating vision loss. We don’t want anyone to end up ringing in the year on an ophthalmologist’s surgery table.”
Rather than have your New Year’s Eve party come crashing down because someone took an eye out with a flying cork, follow these four uncorking tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
1 Chill out. The bubbles in champagne are filled with gas that expand when warm. That pressure can build, causing a cork to pop out unexpectedly. Protect your eyesight by always chilling champagne in the fridge or on ice to about 45 degrees or colder.
2. Don’t shake things up. Sure, it looks cool in the movies, but shaking the bottle only increases pressure, which can unexpectedly release the cork and injure someone.
3. Get a grip on the cork. After removing the foil, hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while taking off the wire hood; don’t expect the wire hood to keep the cork in place.
4. Throw in the towel. As soon as you remove the wire hood, place a towel over the top of the champagne bottle and grasp the cork. Aim the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself, your guests and any light fixtures. Slowly and firmly twist the base of the bottle while holding the cork, rather than the other way around. Use some slight downward pressure on the cork as you twist, until you feel the cork release and hear that celebratory “pop!” sound.Cheers!