Why Does Air Come Out of My Eye?

February 14, 2024

Air is all around us. It’s the cool breeze on a hot summer day, the warm breath from your partner as you hug them, or the puff of air that comes out when the doctor pushes on your eye. Our bodies use it to sustain life and help us see and do the things we love to do. But what is it really made of? What keeps it from rusting and degrading and what is it doing when it makes your eye squeak?

The spherical arrangement of delicate bone that houses your eyeball is called your orbit. It also contains muscles, fat and blood vessels. Blunt trauma can fracture the bony wall of your orbit which allows air from your sinuses to enter and become trapped. This condition is known as orbital emphysema or, more commonly, palpebral emphysema. It can also occur when a foreign object like a piece of dust or a small rock gets into your eye.

Getting something stuck in your eye is quite common. A speck of sawdust or sand can easily get into your eye, even if you don’t have any visible signs of a foreign body. It can be very difficult to open your eyes and find the object. Sometimes moving your eyes up and down or from side to side may make it easier. You can also try to flush the object out by washing your eye with clean water or saline solution. Be careful not to rub your eye as this could cause the object to scratch or tear your cornea and lead to more pain, injury and possibly infection.

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