Can you keep your eyes open when you sneeze?

18 May 2008

Question

Can you keep your eyes open when you sneeze and if you do, will they pop out?

Answer

Chris: I've kept my eyes open in the name of objective research, whilst sneezing, to see what would happen. I can categorically say I still have my eyes, I can still see so I don't believe the idea that they pop out.Helen: I don't know. I've tried and failed to keep my eyes open. I just can't do it. How do you do manage?Chris: I just forced myself. I was driving and I didn't want to shut my eyes so I couldn't see. I forced them to stay open and I still have my eyes. I don't know where this myth comes from but the fact is that the only connection between the nose cavity and they eye is in your tear duct which runs from the edge of your nose up to the middle part inner surface of your eyelids. If you look at your lower eyelid, right where it meets the edge of your nose you'll see a little black dot. That's the plughole through which tears drain. I think the reason we close our eyes when we sneeze is probably because you do get quite a big build-up of pressure in the nose. It will cause a sort of reflux of fluid back up the tear duct and it will squirt your tears back into your eyes. If you screw your eye up you squeeze that duct closed and it does stop some of the tear from squirting back into your eyes. That's why people say blow your nose if you have something in your eye because it forces some of the tears back up into your eye. It means that there are more tears in the eye for a short while. This helps to wash out everything. I don't believe sneezing makes your eyes pop out.

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