“You’ll shoot your eye out, Mom!”

Over the years, parents have warned their children countless times to be careful with objects that pose an obvious threat to their eyes, including things like BB guns and scissors. Now it’s the parents’ turn to hear a similar warning regarding champagne corks as well as those from sparkling champagnewine and juice.

Turns out, a flying cork really could take out a person’s eye. Not really surprising since a corked champagne bottle has 3x the pressure of a car tire and comes out of the bottle at 60mph.

A cork, being the perfect size to fit in a person’s eye socket, can cause a corneal abrasion (scratch to the surface of the eye), retinal detachment and even permanent blindness as it flies out of a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine or juice.

Because of the fairly common occurrence of these injuries, especially during the holidays, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a public service warning reminding of the dangers and providing tips on how to avoid shooting your eye out with a champagne cork.

  1. Keep the bottle chilled since pressure can build more in a warm bottle.
  2. Avoid shaking the bottle, which only increases the pressure and the cork speed.
  3. Place a towel over the top of the bottle to keep corks from launching into the air.
  4. Watch your aim by pointing the bottle away from people.
  5. Hold the cork and twist the bottle instead of the other way around.
  6. Never use a corkscrew, which basically makes a cork an even more dangerous projectile.

To make sure you get a kiss along with your bubbly instead of a trip to the emergency room to ring in the New Year, plan to use these tips for safely opening that bottle of bubbly when the clock strikes midnight.

Decorative Contact Lenses

From athletes to actors and Halloween costumes to fashion accessories, decorative contacts lenses have caught the eyes of many people. Whether looking for a competitive edge, wanting to get in character, putting the finishing touches on your desired look, or supporting your favorite team decorative-contact-lenses(think team logo on your eyes) many people turn to decorative contact lenses.

While much of their use purely involves visual appeal, with decorative lens sales increasing significantly at Halloween, some professional athletes now use colored contact lenses because they say it improves their athletic performance. Examples include Brian Roberts (second baseman for the Orioles) who has worn tinted contacts during day games to improve visibility and A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox catcher) who wears them in lieu of sunglasses, which can slip, get sweaty and add unwanted bulk. While research has yet to prove that colored contacts do actually improve performance, SIVault reports that many athletes in a variety of sports, including baseball, football and golf, believe they do enhance performance.

Regardless of the reason for wearing them, buying colored contacts is easy these days as they are readily available through many retail stores and on the Internet. Unfortunately, wearing decorative/colored contact lenses could ultimately cost a person their vision.

In an effort to prevent permanent eye damage and possibly blindness, heed the following two rules when purchasing decorative contact lenses:

Rule #1 – Beware of lawbreakers. Contact lenses – whether corrective or not – are regulated by the FDA. Any vendor not requiring a prescription from your eye doctor and asking for your doctor’s contact information is breaking the law. Only buy contacts – prescription or decorative – from a company that is FDA-cleared to sell contact lenses.

Rule #2 – Consult an expert. An eye doctor will make sure contacts fit properly as well as teach you how to properly care for your contacts and in turn your eyes. Your eye doctor can also help you prevent significant eye disease and damage.

To help implement these rules, make sure to include the following non-negotiables when purchasing and wearing decorative (colored) contact lenses:

  1. Individual fit. Contacts, prescription or not, are not one-size-fits all, so don’t share contacts. An eye doctor can help you find lenses that fit your eyes, thus reducing the chance of damage to the eye from improper fit. Contacts that don’t fit right can scratch the eye, cause an infection and decrease vision. All of these can lead to loss of vision and blindness.
  2. Proper care. Read and follow the instructions that should come with your contacts as well as those given to you by your eye doctor. Taking care of your contacts and eyes will go a long way in preventing significant inconvenience, health care cost, and even permanent – and preventable – issues.
  3. Communication. Tell your eye doctor why you want the contacts, and then be sure to go to any follow-up visits to make sure the lenses fit properly and don’t cause any irritation. Let your eye doctor know of any discomfort – even if seemingly minor – with your contacts since damage to eyes is often cumulative and therefore unnoticeable until the problem becomes severe and causes permanent damage.
  4. A prescription. Getting a prescription from an eye doctor ensures you get the contacts that are right for you. Quality contact retailers will not only ask for this prescription but for your eye doctor’s name and phone number as well.
  5. Awareness. Know the signs of eye damage, which include redness, pain that doesn’t go away and decreased vision. Remove your contacts, and then see an eye doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs of eye damage.

Having eyes like a cheetah or your favorite fashion model may seem fun at the time, but purchasing from an unauthorized seller and leaving your eye doctor out of the mix can not only turn a $30 vacation adventure into $2,000 medical bills (check out Laura’s story) but can result in an agonizing recovery process, partial vision loss and even complete blindness.

Be smart about what you put into your eye to help ensure good eye health for a lifetime.

5 Reasons to Wear Protective Eyewear Around RC Aircraft

While the dangers of commercial helicopters are probably obvious with the possibility of debris getting into eyes, not to mention the dangerous blades whirling above the machine, the dangers of recreational or remote control helicopters may not seem as apparent. Even though remote control helicopters are not as dangerous Quadcopteras “real” helicopters, they still call for employing safety procedures and donning safety gear. Unfortunately, some simply view them as toys and fail to do what’s necessary to keep both operators and onlookers safe.

While no one wants to eliminate the fun, we must admit that mom was right when she said, “It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.” And there are a lot of ways to get injured by remote control helicopters.

Before reviewing those ways, let’s first understand some of the “forces and velocities involved in a 30-size helicopter with average wood blades at 1800 rpm” as provided by Heliguy. First, each spindle, blade holder and nylon nut screwed to the helicopter must hold 270 pounds (122Kg) to keep the blades from flying away. And second, the tip speed of each blade is about 250 MPH or 413 KPH.

The force that the blades have is like having someone who can throw at about 50mph (81 kph) hit something with the tip of an 8 ft. (2.5m) ruler as hard as possible. If that something is a person, they would be in pain. The point being that the force of these blades, while not likely causing death, can do some serious damage. Heliguy also says to “remember, these statistics are for 30-sized helicopter blades. 60-sized helicopters are much more powerful, and their blades are considerably longer and heavier.”

While the strength of impact varies from one machine to the next, these numbers at least indicate a need to be cautious when operating and simply when near remote control helicopters.

Looking at this in a practical sense, what specific sorts of dangers can these types of forces present?

  1. Rotor wash: Air turbulence caused by a helicopter’s rotor can send flying debris into the air and likely into the eyes of the operator or nearby spectators. That is, unless eyes are properly protected.
  2. Inexperience: Quadcopters are very easy to fly for novice fliers, and most Quadcopters can hover automatically. Unfortunately, inexperience often leads to mistakes which lead to injuries. Making sure an operator isn’t flying a machine he isn’t ready for increases safety for both the operator and spectators.
  3. Location: Quadcopters tend to be closer to the operator than traditional RC aircraft, so the chance of being hit is increased. Also, some aircraft are made for indoor operation, which increases the chance of injuries like corneal abrasions (scratches to the surface of the eye).
  4. Adverse conditions: Outdoor weather conditions and malfunctions often lead to errors and accidents, especially when not taken into consideration prior to takeoff.
  5. Maintenance: Every landing, general use and even minor crashes put stress on aircraft that can lead to breakdown. While having a maintenance program makes logical sense and many pilots implement them consistently, they can get neglected as adrenaline from the excitement of the sport flows.

In addition to common sense, taking time to learn how to operate the aircraft, and making sure aircraft is properly maintained, wearing protective eyewear helps ensure that the most likely injuries don’t happen.

What’s the best option that doesn’t compromise style or comfort and take away from the enjoyment of the sport? And what options work best for indoor operation?

Goggles provide whole-eye protection by eliminating any space through which debris can make its way to eyes. Perhaps goggles aren’t your thing as you’d like to wear something a bit more fashionable. Then safety glasses with good wrap-around protection provide a solid alternative. Some are even available with a foam-lined lens, which provides protection from flying debris, similar to a traditional goggle. There are a lot of lens options as well that make wearing protective eyewear just as functional indoors as outdoors.

Taking time to plan for safety can keep the sport of flying remote control helicopters – and most other sports for that matter – safe and fun.