A bottle containing a carbonated drink such as champagne is under pressure. The pressure can cause the bottle to explode or the bottle stopper to fly off at a high speed. Either mechanism can result in serious trauma to the eye.


Mechanism of eye injury:

(1) explosion of the glass bottle with glass splinters

(2) ejection of the bottle stopper or a metal bottle cap

(3) shattering of an eyeglass lens by the cork


The risk of eye injury is low with:

(1) a screw-top enclosure

(2) glass or metal containers (tend to split under pressure rather than splinter)

(3) opening the bottle beneath a towel (also absorbs any contents that may be ejected)


Risk factors for the bottle to explode:

(1) shaking the bottle

(2) heating the bottle

(3) defect in the glass

(4) dropping the bottle


Risk factors for cork or bottle stopper injury:

(1) opening the bottle with the stopper pointed towards the eye

(2) ricochet off the wall or ceiling

(3) "gun fight" with dueling bottles

(4) intoxication

(5) difficulty getting the stopper off

(6) not removing the stopper immediately after taking off the wire cage


Types of injuries:

(1) penetrating glass splinter from the bottle or eyeglass lens

(2) blunt contusion to the cornea or globe by the bottle stopper

(3) rupture of the globe by the bottle stopper


In the data reviewed by Kuhn et al:

(1) 17% were legally blind as a result of the injury

(2) 46% had a visual acuity worse than 20/40


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