Feeds

Why is it absolutely impossible to sneeze with your eyes open?

The eyes have it

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Also in this week's column:

Why is it absolutely impossible to sneeze with your eyes open?

Asked by Jeff Grisham of San Antonio, Texas

One of the classic Odd Body Questions is why can’t I sneeze without closing my eyes. This question was answered in my first book, The Odd Body. The medical term for a sneeze is the “sternutatory reflex”. Almost all animals sneeze. A sneeze helps clear the nose and sinus regions while injecting oxygen into the cells of the body. A sniff does much the same thing. Nevertheless, a sneeze is a very complicated body action. Technically, a sneeze is produced when an irritant contacts the nasal mucosa, which in turn stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which in turn stimulates the pons and medullai of the brain, which in turn sets off additional nerve reactions, and so on. During a sneeze, tremendous stress is placed on the body. Considerable air pressure is place upon the eyes. This pressure is not enough to pop your eyes out of your head or even make them bulge out, but enough to make your eyes feel uncomfortable from the added pressure. According to Dr. G.H. Drumheller of the International Rhinologic Society in Milan, we close our eyes when we sneeze in order to keep the eyes from “extruding”.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?