This research by Whydo is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission when you purchase through our links. Learn more


Why do eyes shut when sneezing

eyes shut when sneezing

Even in this day of the internet, we have yet to see a legitimately real YouTube video of a person who has the ability to sneeze without their eyes open. Since, the social video sharing site has a video depicting humans doing everything else that the human body is capable of, we can rest assured known that it is physically imposable for people to sneeze with their eyes open. But why are we forced to close our eyes whenever we feel the need to expel air violently through our noses. Let’s see what scientists have found out about it.

1. It protects the eyes

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is a pretty well know institution that is something of an authority over all things eyes and ears. Hence, when the director of comprehensive ophthalmology at the joint, Dr. Bonnie Henderson, claims that the scientist community agrees to theories claiming that we shut our eyes while sneezing to prevent microorganisms expelled from our noses, we kind of have to believe her. Of course, folklore suggests that we shut our eyes while sneezing to prevent them from popping out of our skulls as well!

2. It’s a part of a body-wide reflex

The fact about our eyes being closed during a sneeze is pretty well known but the questions that not many people ask about the same physiological process is why do our heads bob when we sneeze or why do our abdomens contact when we sneeze or why does one’s nonagenarian great uncle fart when sneezing? Again, we have to refer to what the experts in the field have to say about it and again, the scientific community consensually agrees that it is because a sneeze triggers a reflex throughout the body where muscles of the sphincters, back, thighs, the abdomen and the diaphragm contract involuntarily.

Written by:
Editor-in-Chief and lead author at WhyDo