While a popular way to celebrate and ring in the new year, popping open a bottle of champagne can be dangerous. Did you know that a champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it leaves the bottle? If that cork hits your eye, it can cause penetrating ocular trauma, including retinal detachment. If severe enough, it can even cause permanent vision loss. Here are a few tips to ensure safety as you are celebrating:

  1. Chill the champagne. The bubbles in champagne are filled with gas that expands as it warms. Always chill your champagne in the refrigerator or on ice to prevent the bottle from unexpectedly opening.
  2. Don’t shake the bottle. This builds up pressure and can cause the cork to explode from the bottle. 
  3. Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle and away from yourself and everyone else as you are opening it.
  4. Place a towel over the top of the bottle as you are opening it.
  5. Press down on the cork while slowly and firmly twisting the bottle. This slowly eases the pressure and prevents the cork from popping out too quickly.

If you experience an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist.