I don’t know about you, but the soundtrack to my summer was characterised by the crash of waves upon the beach, the sizzle of sausages on the barbeque and the sweet “pop” of a Corona bottle. Unlike many people across New Zealand – my friends included – I did not receive a bottle top to the eyeball.
Bottles containing carbonated beverages frequently cause ocular injuries due to exploding glass shards, or blunt trauma from corks and bottle tops. Screw bottle caps have reduced this risk, although a large number of beverages – such as Corona – still opt for a pressed metal cap.
Flying bottle tops from beer bottles have been accompanied by a burden of ocular trauma across New Zealand. Over a three week period in Nelson, three identical cases of traumatic hyphaemia with paralytic mydriasis were observed – all caused by opening a Corona beer bottle and receiving the pressed metal cap straight into the eye.
“Every week we’d turn up on a Monday, and there’d be a patient with an eye full of blood,” said Cam Loveridge-Easther, author of the paper on why bottle tops need to be taken more seriously, when interviewed by Radio NZ today. “It came to our attention that this had happened three weeks in a row!”
“They were popping it off using a lighter or a spoon, and then the metal cap was firing off. Two people had popped it off themselves, into their own eye, and then with the third unlucky person, they had been hit by a friend’s bottle cap.”
All three cases required time off work, and treatment with steroids and cycloplegics. Moreover, the injured in question will require ongoing monitoring. This is not an insignificant burden both for the patient and for the public health system.
“It wasn’t quite like a black eye … this was blood within the eye. They couldn’t see anything out of the eye.”
Nowhere on the Corona bottle is there any warning of the risk of ocular trauma. But given the injuries over the summer in Nelson, perhaps Corona should think about printing a warning label on their bottles. If the medical team in Nelson witnessed three cases over 3 weeks then there is likely multiple similar cases occurring throughout the country.
“Part of the reason we published this article was to spark a bit of chat around the country, and warn against similar problems,” said Cam Loveridge-Easther.
“I think everyone is wary of a champagne bottle … but no one expects a Corona bottle cap to be dangerous.”
Next time, be careful to watch where the cap is going — but not too closely.
You can read more about this phenomenon here.