Flying Cork

New year's celebrations and Champagne go together like Times Square and sparkle. Yet for all its ability to elevate a celebration, opening bubbly is not without risks. A Champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it leaves the bottle – fast enough to shatter glass. If the cork hits an eye, it can cause bleeding, abrasions and even glaucoma. Follow these five tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to prevent a serious eye injury when opening your bubbly:

1) Just chill.  

Champagne on Ice

Champagne has tons of bubbles filled with gas that expand when warm. With each degree in temperature, pressure builds that can make a cork fly out unexpectedly. To preserve your eyesight (and the taste of your bubbly), always chill your Champagne in the fridge or on ice to about 45 degrees.

2) Don't shake, rattle…or point.

Man aiming champagne

While it looks like fun in the movies, don't shake the bottle. Agitating Champagne increases pressure. Also, don't point the bottle at anyone! Beyond being impolite, it could cost someone an eye.

3) Control the cork.

After tearing off the foil, hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood. Never use a corkscrew to open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine.

4) Towel, tilt, twist.

 Towel over champagne

Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork. Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders. Slowly and firmly twist the bottle at its base while holding the cork – not the other way around – to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using slight downward pressure just as the cork breaks free, creating the signature pop.

5) Cheers!

Group toast

Time to toast. Clink carefully to avoid breaking any glasses. Here's to celebrating responsibly! If you do sustain an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist.

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