It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the New Year with friends and loved ones. But did you know it can be risky for eyes? Sparkling apple cider and champagne glasses will be flowing, but this is the time to review how to keep your eyes, and those of your friends and family, safe from trauma.
Did you say 50 miles per hour?
Yes, when released from the bottle, corks travel more than twice as fast as your car in a school zone! In fact, corks can travel so fast that they can shatter glass. Imagine what can happen to your eye at that speed.
The initial impact to the eye can cause injuries that can range from a severe scratch on the cornea all the way up to a laceration of the eye itself. These injuries usually require surgery, but still can lead to blindness or loss of the eye. But also keep in mind that consequences of the injury can be delayed, often by many decades. One example is delayed-onset glaucoma which leads to painless vision loss and blindness over time.
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So, what steps can you take to protect yourself and others?
We are glad you asked. Whether you toast with sparkling cider or champagne, remember the bottle corks are under pressure and if the proper precautions are not taken, the cork could fly off and injure your eye.
Here are some simple steps you can follow to keep all those eyes safe on New Year’s Eve. Follow these steps to keep your evening a fun one:
- Don’t shake that bottle since that will also expand those gas bubbles and cause pressure to build up. Keep that bottle still.
- Cover the cork with a towel and point the bottle away from yourself and others. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, place the towel over the bottle and hold the cork with your hand. If you gradually twist and move the bottle, and not the cork, then the cork will gradually be pushed out.
- Chill the bottle before popping the cork. The gas bubbles in champagne expand when warm, which means the cork is under higher pressure. So, keep that bottle on ice or in the fridge until ready to be served.
A toast to a happy and safe New Years for your family and friends and remember the joy your eyes bring to the celebration!
Wyoming Ophthalmological Society