• Question: Is it true that if you sneeze with your eyes open they will pop out!?

    Asked by puddings on 20 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      I don’t think this is true – It isn’t clear why we blink when we sneeze, but many scientists think this is an involuntary reflex to shut the eyes to stop the irritants/germs getting in our eyes, while we expel any germs/irritants through sneezing them out. The eye-blink isn’t to protect our eyes from popping out, but to protect them from things ‘getting in’. It is possible (but very difficult) to sneeze with your eyes open, and there is no evidence to suggest that this will cause the eyes to pop out.

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      This is an urban myth I’m afraid. There is no real known reason for it… but considering the amount of muscles involved in a sneeze, its possible that the closing of the eyes, is merely a response to the stimulus. Plus what if you sneezed into the wind…. you don’t want those germs and dirt to come back into your eyes!

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      I dont think so. There are people that have paralysis of the facial muscles so cant close their eyes, and I’m pretty certain that there eyes are still in place when they sneeze.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      The amount of pressure caused by a sneeze is incredibly unlikely to cause your eyes to pop out! They can break the tiny blood vessels known as capillaries in the eye though, if the sneeze is ‘violent’ enough!

      It’s thought that we close our eyes to stop ourselves sneezing into our own eyes. We don’t want to sneeze out bacteria etc just to fire them straight into our eyes – our eyes are too precious for that!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      No, I don’t think it’s true, but i know it’s difficult not to close your eyes when you do sneeze. Whether or not this is because your eyes will pop out is questionable but I imagine there is an evolutionary reason for this. Possibly to avoid anything getting in them when you sneeze, which is rather an abrupt jerk forward or the head!

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 21 Jun 2019:


      No they won’t pop out, but honestly, we don’t have any solid evidence to answer the question of why we close our eyes when we sneeze. I think the explanations given above sound sensible though.

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