Health Watch -- Popping the cork

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Make sure the big moment of your New Year's celebration doesn't send someone to the hospital.

It's the highlight of the party - popping the cork on your champagne bottle. But that popping cork could cause serious eye injuries if you're not careful. While that exploding cork shooting across the room may look great in movies, it's not something you want at your party. Because the cork is propelled with such force, ophthalmologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say that if a champagne cork hits someone in the eye, it could cause ruptured globes, detached retinas and painful bruising.

To help you keep yourself and your guests safe when enjoying the bubbly, Dr. Preston Blomquist, a UT Southwestern ophthalmologist, offers these tips:

First, chill the champagne or sparkling wine to at least 45 degrees. The cork is less likely to pop unexpectedly out of a cold bottle. While you're opening the wire hood over the cork, hold the cork down with the palm of your hand.

When you're opening champagne or sparking wine, point the bottle away from people. Hold it at a 45-degree angle. Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle, grab the cork and twist it firmly to break the seal. Hold the bottle firmly with one hand and slowly turn the cork with a slight upward pull until the cork is almost out of the neck of the bottle. Then apply a slight downward force just as the cork breaks free from the bottle.