Why Can’t We Sneeze With Our Eyes Open?

Have you ever wondered why our eyes close involuntarily while sneezing? And if we can keep them open? Let’s find out!
Why Can’t We Sneeze With Our Eyes Open?
Why Can’t We Sneeze With Our Eyes Open?

One of our most common reflexes is sneezing when we get a cold or when some irritant gets inside our nose. Sneezing, also known as sternutation, is a reflex action that doesn’t involve a thinking process.

We usually sneeze to expel unwanted particles from our nasal passages. This action of sneezing is a reflex response to certain stimuli, such as dust, pollen, or even sunlight. Our sneezing reflex is so powerful that it can cause an involuntary spasm in our entire body, releasing a sudden burst of air through the nose and mouth at 100 miles per hour.

You might never have seen yourself sneezing, but if you have seen other people sneezing, then you know that our eyes close involuntarily while sneezing.

Have you ever wondered why that happens? Or if we can keep our eyes open while sneezing?

Luckily, we have done the research so you don’t have to and have all the answers that you might need.

Let’s unsolve the mystery of sneezing!

Why Do Our Eyes Close While Sneezing?

There is no actual medical evidence to suggest why it happens; however, the most popular theory is that it is an evolutionary response to help us protect ourselves. It is thought that by reflexively closing our eyes while sneezing, we help protect our eyes from any potentially hazardous particles in the air.

The scientific answer to why our eyes close while we sneeze is still being debated.

Related | What Is Déjà Vu? What Is The Science Behind It? And Why Do We Experience It So Often?

Can We Keep Our Eyes Open While Sneezing?

Yes, we can open our eyes while sneezing. Though doing so is quite difficult, only a few people have been able to do it. There has been an old wives' tale circulating for years that advises against sneezing with open eyes to reduce the likelihood of their eyeballs bursting out. But those are only rumors and speculations.

Science has debunked this myth, and those that are able to sneeze with open eyes report no adverse effects. Despite having no adverse effects, sneezing with your eyes open is not recommended. Moreover, the act of forcing oneself to keep their eyes open while sneezing requires a great deal of concentration and willpower.

Also Read | What Is The Difference Between Reflex Action And Walking?

Does Our Heart Stop Momentarily While Sneezing?

No. This is pure conjecture. Our hearts do not stop when we sneeze. The misconception that our hearts momentarily stop when we sneeze is likely due to the powerful feeling of having one's breath taken away.

With that being said, medical professionals advise against holding your sneeze. The following bodily According to Healthline, the following physical harm could result from holding in a sneeze:

  1. Injury to the middle and inner ear, such as a ruptured eardrum
  2. Hearing loss
  3. Damage to the diaphragm
  4. Weakened or ruptured blood vessels in the brain
  5. Damaged blood vessels in the eyes

Also Read | What Is The Difference Between Reversible and Irreversible Reaction?

The bottom line is that you should never hold your sneeze, and while there is no definitive explanation for why our eyes close when we sneeze, the most plausible reason is that it is a reflex action.

Yes, you can keep your eyes open when you sneeze, but it is almost impossible. Though you are welcome to try.

 

FAQ

Does your heart stop when you sneeze?

No. This is pure conjecture. Our hearts do not stop when we sneeze. The misconception that our hearts momentarily stop when we sneeze is likely due to the powerful feeling of having one's breath taken away.

Why do we shut our eyes when we sneeze?

There is no actual medical evidence to suggest why it happens; however, the most popular theory is that it is an evolutionary response to help us protect ourselves.

Is sneezing good for health?

Yes. In fact, sneezing keeps your body healthy.
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