Can you sneeze with your eyes open?

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Did you ever notice that you close your eyes when you sneeze? I sneezed the other day and starting thinking about why my eyes close when I sneeze. So I did some digging to see if it’s even possible. It is possible (well for some), and no your eyes won’t fly out of your head.

Why we sneeze

We have to look at why we sneeze before we can draw any conclusions. Sneezing happens because the nasal cavity is irritated–by dust, allergens, a smell, etc–and responds by expelling the irritant out as a defense mechanism. When the nasal lining comes in contact with an irritant, it sends a signal to brain, which in turn tells your body to sneeze.

Why do your eyes close

The sneezing process actually engages various parts of the body, including your eyes. The muscles in our eyes are connected by a cranial nerve and when we sneeze this nerve is activated ┬ámaking it very hard for us to fight against this reflex. But the eyes aren’t the only things affected. Keep track of what your body does the next time you have to sneeze: your chest muscles expand; your throat muscles contract; your lungs fill with air; and your diaphragm and stomach muscles contract. When these things happen in concert, the result is a sneeze.

Will your eyes pop out

We’ve all heard the old wives tail that if you sneeze with your eyes open your eyes will pop out. So, is it true? Well, the primary reason for your eyes closing in general is to protect your eyes. So when you sneeze, the eyes are trying to keep the irritants your just expelled from your nose from going in your eyes. I personally can’t sneeze with my eyes open, but I did find a few people on YouTube who have done so. Another important thing to remember is that your eyes aren’t held in your skull by your eyelids. The eyelid protect and numerous other muscles are attached to the eye (that’s how you look in different directions).

If you’re still not sold, check out the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters report. And if you still don’t believe me, ask your eye doctor because they are experts on your eyes.

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