Champagne corks, pine thorns, contact lenses… Beware of the risks to your eyes on New Year's Eve – franceinfo

Lack of vigilance or luck: The end of the year celebrations are a time full of dangers for the eyes. Champagne corks or contact lenses in particular pose the risk of you spending a New Year’s Eve full of tears.

Published on December 30, 2023 09:18

Reading time: 2 minutesEye illustration.  (ODILON DIMIER / MAXPPP)

Eye illustration. (ODILON DIMIER / MAXPPP)

If we regularly think about the cuts that end up in the “hand emergency services” when opening oysters, there are also injured partygoers in the eye emergency services every year. A study published December 20 in the British Medical Journal shows that the pressure in a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine is three times higher than that of a car tire.

The cork reaches a speed of 80 km/h and only takes 0.05 seconds to reach your eye. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will have time to close your eyes just before impact. “It’s incredibly violent,” explains Doctor Sébastien Bruneau, deputy head of the ophthalmology department at the Rothschild Foundation in Paris. Especially because the size of the cap really hits the eye directly and there is no protection of the orbital mass. So we will have real bruises on the eye.

“If you’re really unlucky, a bad combination of circumstances can cause you to lose your vision. Or even organically, you can lose your eyeball completely and have to replace it with what’s called a glass eye.”

Sébastien Bruneau, ophthalmologist

at franceinfo

Champagne corks aren’t the only danger that awaits you on New Year’s Eve. Consultations for ophthalmological emergencies each year include: Burning eyes from sauce, food falling out of the pan or splattering from the oven at child’s eye level. There are also risks with solid contact lenses that color your eyes: they are not always manufactured under optimal safety conditions and therefore cause infections. But Professor Jean-Louis Bourges, head of the ophthalmological emergencies department at the Assistance publique Hôpitaux de Paris, explains that problems can also arise with everyday prescription lenses.

Some people “keep on contact lenses longer than necessary,” he points out. “Especially after a successful party, you fall asleep with contact lenses on, and this can lead to infection problems.”

“Either we see irritation problems, which ultimately are not major and which we can get under control, or outright infection problems. And an infection of the cornea, i.e. the transparency of the wall of the eye, is a real problem because it can permanently reduce vision.”

Jean-Louis Bourges, head of the ophthalmological emergencies department at AP-HP

at franceinfo

Since this time represents one of the greatest dangers, you should also be careful about eye injuries when removing your Christmas tree. An eyesore, it may seem silly, but every year the emergency services see “tree accident victims”.