Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2023: Champagne Problems

Cheers not tears: champagne corks and eye injury

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: (Published 20 December 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2520
  1. Ethan Waisberg, specialised foundation programme doctor12,
  2. Joshua Ong, resident physician3,
  3. Mouayad Masalkhi, medical student4,
  4. Hamza Memon, medical student5,
  5. Andrew G Lee, professor512
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Moorfields Eye Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  4. 4University College Dublin School of Medicine, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5Texas A&M College of Medicine, TX, USA
  6. 6Department of Ophthalmology, Blanton Eye Institute, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA
  7. 7Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA
  8. 8Departments of Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA
  9. 9Department of Ophthalmology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA
  10. 10University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA
  11. 11Center for Space Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
  12. 12Department of Ophthalmology, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, USA
  1. Correspondence to: E Waisberg ew690{at}

Be careful this holiday season: ocular trauma while opening bottles of fizz can be significant—and easily avoided, advise Ethan Waisberg and colleagues

The joyful effervescence of champagne is often associated with celebration, happiness, and the holiday season. The rapid release of carbon dioxide gas after uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine is a memorable moment enjoyed by all, regardless of whether you drink alcohol. But there is a dark side to uncorking these bubbly beverages.

Cork eye injuries are an often overlooked and substantial threat to ocular health. Although our group usually publishes on the effects of spaceflight on the eye,123 this article focuses on the launch of sparkling wine corks instead of astronauts. The goal of this article is to ensure that you don’t begin the new year on the operating table of an eye surgeon.

Permanent blindness

This warning might at first sound overly cautious, but the American Academy of Ophthalmology has a public safety campaign, “Uncork with Care,” that gives practical tips for safely uncorking fizz bottles due to the “serious, potentially blinding eye injuries” that occur every year. …

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