The Truth About Sneezing With Your Eyes Open

The human body is amazing and amazingly disgusting. We are such stuff that meat is made of, and when we die our bodies become such stuff that refrigerator coolant is made of as bacteria and fungi feed on our dead meat, producing Freon. Our digestive organs convert other creatures' meat into nutrients before pooping and tooting the unwanted leftovers. Human brains are insanely complex but also kind of look like slimy walnuts. If asked to name the most remarkable yet weird and disgusting body part, we would have to pick our nose.

Your organ helps make tasting possible, per Live Science, and even more remarkably, it doesn't make all your food taste like boogers. Smell is also connected to memory, and diminished sniffing ability can signal the onset of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. And on the grosser end of the spectrum, if you sneeze with your eyes open your peepers will pop out of your head. Or will they?

The belief that your nose can blow your eyes out with a sneeze is an age-old urban legend. While some urban legends prove true, there's no proof in this instance. Texas A&M traces the story's origin back to an 1882 article published in The New York Times. It tells the tale of a woman on a streetcar who was "was seized with a sudden fit of sneezing and burst one of her eyeballs." Dr. David Huston of the Texas A&M College of Medicine in Houston dismissed this and similar stories as "far-fetched" at best. 

Speaking with Live Science, Huston explained that it's entirely possible for people to sneeze with their eyes open. The most plausible worst-case scenario is that the pressure from the sneeze ruptures some blood vessels in your eyes — specifically capillaries, the smallest kind of blood vessels. So why do humans almost universally close their eyes while sneezing? Huston thinks it may serve as a means of preventing projectiles from your nose from entering your eyes. So maybe the nose isn't blindingly gross, but only because we close our eyes when we sneeze.