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March 1963

High Cost of Prosperity

Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;69(3):286. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960040292002

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The hazards of a prosperous society are reflected in a recent issue of the Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde (41:602, 1962). Here we read that an increasing number of patients report to the Berlin Clinic with blunt injuries of the eye from opening champagne bottles! The use of polyethylene stoppers instead of natural cork enhances the ballistic potentials of these missiles since the artificial material neither fragments on opening the bottle nor does it hold as tightly in a cool bottle. It may thus discharge as soon as the restraining wire is released. The force behind these discharges is 4 atmospheres, which the author compares with the pressure of 1.5-2 atmospheres in a Volkswagen tire.

A rise in accident rate from opening champagne bottles follows the increasing use of this symbol of prosperity. In 1952 only two million bottles of champagne were consumed in the Bundesrepublik and in West Berlin, whereas

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