49.2k readers

What It's Like When Your Eye Pops Out

Updated October 19, 2018 49.2k views12 items

Everyone has seen one of those cartoons where a character's eyes pop way out of their head, right? While that may be a funny trope on TV, people do have eyes pop out, and it's even possible to lose an eye if they pop out in real life. It's such an odd idea that you might be wondering what happens if your eye pops out. Does it hurt? How would that even happen? Well, luckily for you, there's plenty of information on what it's like to lose your eye, and you can learn all about it right here.

It's worth mentioning that this article is going to get a little graphic, so if you're squeamish, you've been warned. If, on the other hand, you're just curious about these things or want a little scientific detail, then rejoice. Just know you might feel a little more appreciative of your own eyeballs by the time you're through with reading. 

So if you're ready to find out what happens if you lose an eye, then read on.

  • The Muscles Or Bone Around The Eye Will Be Damaged

    Basketball players, MMA fighters, soccer players, rugby players, and many other athletes are far more susceptible to eyes popping out than the average person - and for good reason. Most cases of globe luxation happen because of some form of injury. The parts of your face that keep your eye in place are the eyelid, the orbital bone, and the muscles surrounding that area. When those are injured, broken, or torn, then there is nothing holding your eye back in the socket.

    From there, a solid impact to the head, a held breath, a sneeze, a cough, or vomiting can all cause your eye to fall forward. In this way, it's more like your eye is falling - rather than popping - out. Luckily, the muscles and bones around your eye are pretty resilient and can be repaired. 

  • Most Of The Time, It Just Looks Like Your Eye Is Bulging

    When people think of someone's eye falling out, they probably imagine a very gruesome prospect. An eye bouncing across the floor, an eyeball dangling by its optic nerve, or maybe even cartoon-like eyes flying forward with a "pop." In reality, it's a little less horrifying.

    When your eye pops out of its socket, it's generally still attached to your optic nerve and the muscles at the back of the eyeball. Because of this, the eye doesn't exactly fly out or dangle. Instead, it looks much more like someone's eyes are just bulging way out. You may be able to see the areas around the back and sides of the eye, but they'll still stay relatively in place. Disconcerting to witness, maybe, but probably less traumatizing than seeing an eyeball rolling across the carpet. 

  • You'll Feel An Ache Behind Your Eye

    No matter the reason for your eye coming out of its socket, the first thing you're likely to notice is a dull pressure and ache at the back of your eye. Before your eyeball pops out, there's usually some amount of pressure caused by breathing, which presses your eye forward. Without your muscles, lid, or orbital bone holding the eye in, you'll feel a strain as your eye moves forward. The front of the eye itself won't feel any pain, but the areas around and behind it will feel a strange, muted ache as the ball becomes dislodged.

    It probably won't be an intense pain, but it's definitely an intense feeling. 

  • It Probably Won't Become Detached

    The biggest fear you may have concerning the idea of your eye popping out is that it will become totally detached from your head. Lucky for you, total-eye detachment is extremely unlikely. Globe luxation is incredibly rare, but when it does happen, the optic nerve and muscles around the back of the eyeball generally stay attached, which holds the ball against your head. On rare occasions, the ocular muscles and nerves may tear, but these are usually from traumatic injuries so severe that the eye is destroyed or damaged anyway.

    If your eye is just popping out, you're likely to be uncomfortable and freaked out but not permanently damaged. So, if you want one a shred of optimism about the possibility of your eye popping out, it's that you won't have to go crawling around on the floor looking for it.