There are things we do as part of our daily life but sometimes we don’t completely anticipate what they might lead to. Blowing your nose may seem harmless, but sometimes it may help to be careful.A British woman who blew her nose a bit too hard didn’t just end up with a snot-filled tissue — she also fractured a bone in her left eye socket, according to a new report of her case.
That’s right — the sheer force of blowing her nose led to an “orbital blowout fracture,” or a break in the thin bone that forms the floor of the eye socket.
The incident took place when the 36-year-old woman was at work, according to the case report, which was published online June 28 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. Shortly after forcefully blowing her nose, the woman temporarily lost vision in both eyes. Then, 2 hours later, her left nostril suddenly started to bleed, and she developed swelling around her left eye. After another few hours of vision problems and stabbing pain on the left side of her head and neck, she went to the emergency room. [27 Oddest Medical Cases]
A CT scan of the bones in her face revealed a fracture in her left eye socket, according to the report. Specifically, she had a break in the lamina papyracea, one of the bones surrounding the eye.
Indeed, one of the bones in the floor of the eye socket is thin and can fracture with such blunt-force injuries, Myers told Live Science. But making the nose-blowing case even more curious, this woman actually fractured a neighboring bone, which is a bit thicker and harder to break, he said.
People can create quite a lot of force within their nostrils when blowing their noses, Myers said, but it’s very rare for this to create enough force to fracture an eye socket.
Myers said he’d never heard of a person breaking an eye socket from blowing his or her nose. Everyone blows their nose, but they don’t think they can blow out their eye in the process, he said.
But there may have been some reasons why this bizarre incident occurred. For one thing, the woman had a cold during the week of the incident and had been blowing her nose more frequently, Myers said. And the way she blew her nose could’ve also played a role: The woman tended to close off one nostril and then blow forcefully, which almost doubles the pressure in the sinuses as it forces all of the pressure out through the remaining open nostril, instead of both nostrils.