Last updated April 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm
Be warned! How you take the top off a cold one has consequences.
Among certain sorts of people, there runs an opinion that regards the way in which a person opens a bottle of beer to be a measure of character.
A bottle-opener, a common and simple lever specifically designed for removing the top from a cold one, performs this task in a perfectly adequate manner. For some folk, however, it seems accomplishing the task in an unfussy utilitarian way is not enough.
To be truly cool, truly stylish, one must augment the use of the opener with a degree of excessive force, or dispense with it altogether and use an improvised tool, with the aim, and result, of sending the top spinning through the air in a display of notably pointless kinetic expenditure.
This, as New Zealand ophthalmologists Cam Loveridge-Easther and Sacha Moore report in the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia, is a behaviour that can have consequences beyond theatrically gaining access to lager.
The risk of serious injuries
In a letter to the journal, the pair report three cases in three weeks of gentlemen reporting to hospital in the city of Nelson needing urgent attention because they succeeded in flipping the bottle cap straight into their own eyes.
The blokes, in separate incidents, each suffered serious injuries, including traumatic hyphaemia – blood pooling in the anterior chamber – and paralytic mydriasis, which involves loss of function in the sphincter that controls the opening and closing of the pupil.
All three required time off work to get over the worst of the injury, and treatment with steroids and paralysis-treatment drugs called cycloplegics.
The trio, too, are subject to ongoing monitoring, because the injuries increase the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
Loveridge-Easther and Moore suspect the admissions do not represent a curious and unlikely coincidence.
“We feel that if our team in Nelson witnessed three cases over three weeks then there is likely multiple similar cases occurring throughout the country,” they write.
Champagne trumps beer
They note, too, that publications in other counties have before now called for “explicit warnings on bottles stating that opening a bottle without a proper bottle opener may cause serious eye injury and loss of sight”.
Interestingly, a report in the British Journal of Ophthamology in 2004 found that champagne corks caused far more eye injuries than bottle tops.
They were found to be the cause of 20 per cent of pressurised bottle-related eye damage cases in the US, and a stunning 70 per cent in Hungary. The difference between the two results, the researchers found, was mostly likely because US champagne bottles carry warnings about corks, while Hungarian ones don’t.
However, they wrote, “Even if a bottle has no such warnings, the person is likely to be aware of the threat from previous occasions.”
The results, however, suggest otherwise, leading to a conclusion as relevant in Budapest as it is in Nelson: you can’t account for stupid.