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See to It That New Year's Eve Is Safe

Group's eye safety tips can help everyone uncork a merry celebration

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- When you pop the cork on the bottle of bubbly to celebrate the New Year, make sure you take steps to prevent eye injuries, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

"A bottle of champagne can be a wonderful holiday treat, but people need to be careful popping the cork," Dr. Wayne Bizer, a clinical correspondent for the academy, said in a prepared statement.

"Warm bottles of champagne and poor technique in removing the cork can result in serious, blinding eye injuries. Knowing the right way to open a bottle of champagne will make your holiday both merry and safe. We want people to ring in the New Year with good health," Bizer said.

Here are some tips:

  • Be aware that a recently shaken bottle of champagne/sparkling wine increases the risk of eye injury.
  • Make sure champagne/sparkling wine is chilled to at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit before opening it. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
  • Hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood. Point the bottle away from yourself and others at a 45-degree angle. Place a towel over the entire top and grasp the cork, slowing and firmly twisting it to break the seal.
  • Keeping the bottle at a 45-degree angle, hold it firmly with one hand and use the other hand to slowly turn the cork with a slight upward pull. Continue doing this until the cork is almost out of the neck of the bottle. Use slight downward pressure to counter the force of the cork as it breaks free of the bottle.

More information

Prevent Blindness America offers a home eye safety checklist.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, December 2007

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