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Why we shut our eyes when we sneeze

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 04, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • There are more than one reasons behind this phenomenon.
  • Eyes close while sneezing as a reflex.
  • We cannot sneeze with our eyes open.
  • Closed eyes restrict the germs from entering your eyes.


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.


why we shut our eyes when we sneeze

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.



Image: Getty

Read more articles in Healthy Living.

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  • nitya23 Sep 2016
    Interesting fact.....liked it a lot.