July 20, 2024

Experts Issue Warning About Eye Injuries Caused by Flying Corks

As the holiday season approaches, a team of eye specialists from renowned institutions including the University of Cambridge, the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, University College Dublin School of Medicine, and Texas A&M College of Medicine is raising concerns about potential eye injuries that may occur when champagne bottles are opened. The team conducted a study, which was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), analyzing existing literature on eye injuries caused by corks moving at high velocities.

While most injuries resulting from flying corks are considered minor, anecdotal evidence and medical reports indicate that they can also lead to major eye injuries. The research team discovered that individuals struck in the eye by a cork can suffer from anterior chamber hemorrhage, commonly known as hyphema, where blood accumulates in the front part of the eye. Traumatic retinopathy is another possible injury, which can be particularly severe and may result in permanent vision loss.

Surprisingly, the team also found that instances of blindness caused by serious cork impacts are more prevalent than previously believed. A significant number of individuals never fully recover from such injuries, and an alarming 26% of patients treated for cork-related eye injuries experience permanent vision loss.

The researchers referenced a notable study conducted in Italy in 2009, which documented various levels of visual impairment and long-term complications caused by bottle corks, including ocular hypertension and corneal injuries. The study also identified late complications that developed over time after an injury, including issues with pupil motility, post-traumatic glaucoma, and traumatic optic neuropathy.

Furthermore, the team highlighted the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s ongoing campaign called “Uncork with Care,” which aims to educate consumers about the risks associated with opening pressurized bottles and offers safer alternatives. They emphasized that the pressure inside a bottle of sparkling wine can reach three times that of a car tire, propelling corks at speeds of up to 80 km/h. In fact, a cork can reach a person’s eye in a mere 0.05 seconds, faster than their reflex to close their eyes in response.

With the holiday season fast approaching, experts are urging individuals to exercise caution when opening bottles containing pressurized liquids. They recommend following the guidelines outlined in the “Uncork with Care” campaign, which advises people to hold the cork firmly, point the bottle away from themselves and others, and ensure a controlled release of pressure by gently twisting the cork while applying downward pressure.

Preventing these injuries requires raising awareness and implementing safe practices when opening bottles of champagne or any other carbonated beverages. By following simple guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, individuals can reduce the risk of eye injuries and enjoy a festive and safe holiday season.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it