|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Tally, My research into this topic has stated that there is no know reason for the eyes to close. It is not to protect them at all. Your assumption of stimulation of close nerve bundle seems to be the cause. However, not everyone closes their eyes when they sneeze (probably a small population). It has been guessed that closing of the eyes developed to prevent sneeze spray from getting into the eyes. However, since they are open most of the time and have their own defenses against bacteria, the reason for closing the eyes remains unknown. Sneezing is the response to remove possible parasites and bacteria from the nasal pasages. Closing the eyes could be Other mammmals do sneeze. Cats and dogs sneeze and I have seen cats have the same closing eyes reflex. I hope this answers your question. Mike
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