• Question: Is it possible to sneeze with your eyes open?

    Asked by aislinglynch to Karen, Angela, Gabriele, Maria, Shane on 11 Nov 2013. This question was also asked by alannahspain.
    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 11 Nov 2013:

      It actually is, but the urge to close them is so great and hard to overcome that you would probably have to force this to happen with something nasty like duck tape or match sticks! Its probably a reaction we evolved to protect our eyes from whatever we’re sneezing out at the time. Snot in the eye probably isn’t the wisest thing! The rumour that your eyes will pop out if you do hold them open are totally false however…..!

    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 11 Nov 2013:

      I always try to sneeze with my eyes open but it hasn’t happened yet! The main reason is probably to do with protecting your eyes! Sneezing is usually a reaction to something that is irritating you – dust, dirt or germs. By sneezing, you’re propelling the irritant away from you, so I suppose it makes sense to close your eyes too to protect them!

    • Photo: Gabriele De Chiara

      Gabriele De Chiara answered on 12 Nov 2013:

      Nooooo! It’s impossible! It’s a self-protection mechanism: sneeze air travels at about 100 miles per hour and, if you kept your yes open, the recoil would damage your eyes!

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 12 Nov 2013:

      It’s a tricky one! You ve got us thinking – excellent question Aisling 🙂 So while it is possible, it is actually very hard to do since your eyelids snap shut by reflex when you sneeze. Your nose and eyes are linked by nerves in your head. The stimulation from the sneeze travels up one nerve to the brain and then down another nerve to the eyelids, triggering a blink for most people. BUT, some people can sneeze with their eyes open — without the fear of your eyeballs popping out! Your eyes are actually quite secure in their socket, plus, these sockets aren’t connected to your nose at all. So, although a sneeze can erupt from your nose at an explosive 200 miles per hour (wow that’s fast), it can’t transfer this pressure into your eye sockets to dethrone your eyeballs. Plus, there’s no muscle directly behind the eye to violently contract and push the orbs outward. That would be gross hey. Eyelids aren’t big on muscle power, so even if they were tasked with keeping eyeballs in place, they’d fail. That’s a myth that’s been busted 😉 hope that helps!