This performer at a Chinese New Year celebration in Beijing wowed spectators by squirting milk out of his right eye.
What made the milk spout possible? First the man snorted milk through his nose. The pressure of snorting helped move the fluid against the force of gravity and up the performer's nasal cavity. There, a small channel called the tear duct connects the nose to each eye, says Dr. Gail Summers, an eye doctor at the University of Minnesota.
The purpose of the tear duct is to sweep tears and moisture from your eyes. The lacrimal (LAK-rih-mul) glands, located under your eyelids, secrete tears and also keep your eyes moist each time you blink. The liquid is drained through the punctum, or the tiny holes in the inner corners of your eyelids. The fluid then flows down the tear duct and into your nasal cavity.
"Most people have one-way valves, or doors, [located at both ends of the tear duct] that prevent a backward flow," explains Dr. Aaron Fay, an eye surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The squirter seen here likely has a defective tear-duct valve that allows him to move liquid in the reverse direction--from his nose to his eye.
Once the performer forced the milk up to his eye, he closed his mouth, pinched his nostrils shut, and forced air to fill his nasal passages. Then he blew hard to help push the milk out of his eye's puncture. Any onlookers within close range probably got a soaking: He jetted the milk 2 meters (6.6 feet)!
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|Title Annotation:||GROSS OUT; squirting milk out of an eye|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||May 11, 2009|
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