It’s typically normal that when you sneeze, you don’t usually see those fluids being expelled from your nose. Why? Because your eyes are closed! If you’ve ever thought about it or watched other people sneeze, you know that the eyes will never going to pop out and will automatically close right before the sneeze explodes from the nose. And why is that?
Fist of all, you have to think about how the eye works. There are six different muscle groups holding the eye in place: the medial and lateral rectus; the superior and inferior oblique; and the superior and inferior rectus muscles. These all help you move your eyes around when trying to see.
The six muscles, as well as your eyelids, helping you keep your eyes in place when sneezing, and yet, most of us can’t help but to close our eyes when we sneeze anyway.
But according to a 2006 case study from the Netherlands, a man with floppy eyelids reported that his eye had dislodged from its socket several times in three months. There have also been reports of people experiencing their eyes popping out – called luxation – in traumatic accidents, or by putting in their contact lenses wrong. There have been cases of people losing eyes in car accidents and on the sporting field. We couldn’t find any cases of bungee jumpers experiencing luxation, but don’t try to block your nose and mouth while trying to exhale – people have accidentally popped their eyes when attempting this.
But don’t worry folks because the act of sneezing — also known as sternutation — will not cause your eyes to pop out. It may be possible to sneeze with your eyes open but it will never pop out. It’s just very difficult and you have to make a concerted effort to keep your eyes open. Some people who try to sneeze with their eyes open can only accomplish this feat if they hold their eyelids open!
This curious phenomenon occurs because the eyes automatically close when you sneeze as a result of one of the body’s involuntary reflexes. That means your brain sends a signal to your eye muscles to close your eyes before a sneeze without you ever thinking about it or doing anything.
Some believe this reflex developed to prevent what is being sneezed out from getting into the eyes during the process. Others believe it’s simply a reflex with no particular purpose whatsoever.
Eye doctors would even tell you that your eyelid muscles aren’t strong enough to keep your eyeballs in place if they were being pushed out of their sockets. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that happening as a result of a simple sneeze!
So folks, scientifically speaking, you probably won’t lose your eyeballs if you do manage to sneeze with your eyelids open.