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Why We Shut our Eyes When We Sneeze

Updated at: Jul 12, 2018
Why We Shut our Eyes When We Sneeze

Do we close eyes because it is our reflex action or are we scared to expose our eyes to the mucus germs that we throw into the air? Find out.

Written by: Bhadra KamalasananPublished at: Jul 01, 2018

To discover the reason behind why we shut our eyes when we sneeze has been the core of science’s biggest mysteries but, not anymore. To get closer to finding the answer, let’s find out what a sneeze is.

Sneeze is triggered by the irritation of membranes in the nose because of pollen particles. So, when this particle has irritated your membrane, a signal gets sent to the brain by the trigeminal nerve, which then triggers lots of other reactions like the chest expanding, the lungs filling up with air and finally you sneezing everywhere. Science reports that a person sneezes around 5,000 droplets of mucus as well as air at the speed of 160kph.

The many reasons that have been cited to cause the shutting of eyes while sneezing include:

  • Response of eyes to the reaction
  • A reflex action just like when the leg jerks slightly at a tap on the respective knee
  • To save the eyes from getting in contact with the germ droplets
  • Tightening of the eye muscles as part of those muscles that tighten when there is an involuntary response

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