Watch where you point that thing!

That New Year's Eve champagne could give you more than a hangover if you're not careful. It could take your eye out.

Opthamologists at Wills Eye Institute in Center City are warning that New Year's Eve ranks second only to the Fourth of July holiday in the number of eye injuries they see in their emergency room.

"It's a phenomenon that truly happens," said Dr. Kristen Hammersmith. "People are hit in the eye with flying corks from champagne bottles, and the injuries range from mild bruising to bad enough to cause blindness. It's something we always have to worry about going into New Year's Eve," she said.

Hammersmith offered several tips to keep your celebration from landing in the ER: Open your bubbly at a 45 degree angle and keep it pointed away from yourself or any bystander.

Keep a towel over the cork to keep it from flying.

A well-chilled bottle is less likely to cause injury. Warm champagne is under greater pressure than cold.

Whatever you do, don't shake the bottle before opening it. Agitating the champagne will not only waste perfectly good wine, but cause the cork to shoot out with greater velocity.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or at samwood@phillynews.com.