Before you pop a bottle of Champagne this holiday season, learn how to do it safely. A warm bottle of champagne coupled with poor technique can send a cork flying up to 50 mph; powerful enough to shatter glass and eyeballs. Ophthalmologists, physicians specializing in medical and surgical eye care, say exploding corks can cause a wide range of eye injuries, from cuts and bruises to cataracts, glaucoma, and ruptured eyeballs. Cork-related eye injuries are avoidable. Follow these tips from South Jersey Eye Physicians and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

1. Chill the Champagne before opening. Gas found in Champagne expands when warm and can cause the cork to pop unexpectedly.

2. Don’t shake the bottle. This can also cause the bottle to burst unexpectedly and cause an injury.

3. When opening, tear off the foil, remove the wire hood and point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders.

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

5. Slowly and firmly twist the bottle, not the cork. Press down on the cork while twisting the bottle. Do this until the pressure in the bottle begins to push the cork out naturally.

“Champagne cork injuries really do happen, and they have real consequences,” said Dianna Seldomridge, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “This holiday season, make sure your at-home celebrations are safe from sight-threatening eye injuries. Follow our tips on the safest way to open a bottle of Champagne.”

If injury does occur, seek medical attention immediately from an urgent care medical professional or an ophthalmologist.

To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.