Everyone in their lifetime, at least once, would have experienced a terrible cold that they wished they could just keep their nose aside. But ever imagined that a cold could break someone’s eye socket? Not kidding, a 36-year-old British woman blew her nose a bit too hard and fractured a bone in her left eye socket, according to reports. The effort put into blowing her nose was so much that doctors compared the injury to being punched in the face. According to a report published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, doctors termed it as a ‘rare’ case.
The incident took place when the woman was at work. Shortly after forcefully blowing her nose, the woman temporarily lost vision in both eyes. Two hours later, she developed a swelling around her left eye and her left nostril suddenly started to bleed. She went to the emergency room after another few hours of vision issues and pain on the left side of her head and neck. A CT scan of the bones revealed a fracture in her left eye socket, specifically a break in the ‘lamina papyracea’, one of the bones surrounding the eye.
Dr Sam Myers, a surgeon at North Middlesex University Hospital, London, who treated the woman, told Live Science, “While eye-socket fractures aren’t rare, they’re caused much more commonly by blunt-force trauma, such as when someone gets punched in the eye or is hit by a ball.” He further added, “Indeed, one of the bones in the floor of the eye socket is thin and can fracture with such blunt-force injuries. But making the nose-blowing case even more curious, this woman actually fractured a neighbouring bone, which is a bit thicker and harder to break.”
Myers said there are more than just one reason why this bizarre incident occurred with the women. The way which she blew her nose could’ve 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 the pressure out through the remaining open nostril, instead of both nostrils, he said. Second reason, the woman smoked 20 cigarettes a day, according to the report. Smoking changes the pressures in a person’s sinuses, which are located next to the eye sockets, and this may have made her prone to fracture, Myers said.
The woman spent a night in the hospital and was given painkillers and was prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. Her vision was not permanently affected by the fracture and did not need surgery to repair the break. Although she still experiences pain on the left side of her head, which will eventually go away as she continues to heal, Myers said. One good thing out of this bizarre incident – the woman has given up smoking and likely will be blowing her nose more gently in the future.