On this eve of a brighter new year, we have a few words to offer about celebration safety tonight.

At this point, you know we will have something to say about drinking and driving if you decide to venture out.

We will get to that, but first, we have a safety advisory to share from the American Academy of Ophthalmology — the experts in the health of our eyes.

Obviously, a fair amount of champagne flows during New Year’s Eve celebrations (maybe more than normal tonight as we close out the challenging year of 2020), but bottles filled with champagne, especially warm ones, can literally uncork a potential hazard.

These bottles contain internal pressure as high as 90 pounds per square inch — more than pressure found inside a typical car tire — and (according to scientific study) enough to launch a champagne cork up to 50 miles per hour as it pops off the bottle.

A cork flying at 50 miles per hour can shatter glass, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) notes, so just imagine the damage that could occur if it strikes someone in the eye.

In fact, champagne cork mishaps can lead to a variety of serious eye injuries, including rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular bleeding, dislocation of the lens and damage to the eye’s bone surface. Several of these injuries would require immediate surgery.

Ophthalmologists warn that once the cork flies, we have little time to react and protect our eyes. In an effort to promote celebration safety, the AAO has these tips for those handling champagne bottles:

n Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork in a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.

n Don’t shake the bottle.

n Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself or anyone else and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood.

n Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.

n Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45-degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

And speaking of alcohol and safety, do not drink and drive. Remember that a driver is considered legally intoxicated in Pennsylvania with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent. A female weighing 160 pounds can reach this level with just two drinks — defined as 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, 12 ounces of 5 percent beer or five ounces of 12 percent wine. Women who weigh less will get there with less alcohol. Men who weigh 200 pounds can hit the mark with just three drinks, faster for men who weigh less.

Experts advise you to plan your transportation accordingly and pace your alcohol intake by alternating drinks with water or other non-alcoholic beverages.

From all of us here at The Daily Item, have a safe and happy new year!

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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