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Open Eyes While Unconscious Symptom, Causes & Questions

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Last updated April 8, 2024

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When someone is passing out with their eyes open, this may be caused by generalized tonic-clonic seizures, long fainting episode, or vasovagal syncope. Read below for more information on loss of consciousness causes and treatment options.

3 most common cause(s)

Vasovagal Syncope
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Generalized tonic-clonic seizure
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Long fainting episode

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3 causes of open eyes while unconscious

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Vasovagal syncope

Vasovagal syncope is one of the most common causes of fainting. occurs when the body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. The body coordinates a sudden drop of heart rate and blood pressure, causing reduced blood flow to the brain and a brief loss of consciousness.

You do not need treatment for this condition, as it is normal and not a cause for concern. You may require medical attention if during the fainting episode you fell and injured a body part.

Long fainting episode

Fainting for an extending period of time requires an immediate physician work-up because it could be serious. You should see a doctor immediately.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: long fainting episode

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Generalized tonic-clonic seizure

A seizure is a short burst of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. A generalized tonic-clonic seizure affects both halves of the brain, and comes in two phases (tonic and clonic). The tonic phase is characterized by rigidity of all muscles and loss of consciousness. Saliva may escape the mouth, and the bladder may contract, releasing urine. The clonic phase follows, when the body appears to shake. This may last from seconds to minutes. The person gradually regains consciousness. A seizure may be caused by an underlying disease such as epilepsy, or by triggers such as heavy drinking, drugs, or anxiety.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: being severely ill, brief fainting episode, confusion/disorientation after returning to consciousness, not having protected the body during the fall, eyes rolling back while passing out

Symptoms that always occur with generalized tonic-clonic seizure: being severely ill, loss of consciousness without remembering, confusion/disorientation after returning to consciousness

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Over the Counter Treatment

Here are some over the counter treatment that might help:

  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can trigger fainting spells. Consider electrolyte solutions to keep hydrated.
  • Manage Stress: For stress-induced syncope, stress relief aids like aromatherapy diffusers can be beneficial.

Questions your doctor may ask about open eyes while unconscious

  • How long were you unconscious?
  • Do you notice your heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly (also called palpitations)?
  • Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Were you confused and disoriented when you woke up?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Open eyes while unconscious symptom checker statistics

People who have experienced open eyes while unconscious have also experienced:

  • 15% Fainting
  • 6% Dizziness
  • 5% Involuntary Movements

People who have experienced open eyes while unconscious were most often matched with:

  • 43% Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure
  • 43% Long Fainting Episode
  • 12% Vasovagal Syncope

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.

Hear what 4 others are saying
Once your story receives approval from our editors, it will exist on Buoy as a helpful resource for others who may experience something similar.
The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
What really happened to me?Posted February 19, 2021 by C.
I was in a catastrophic car accident. When the green police pants were in front of me and asking if I was staying conscious, I didn't know and said, I don't know. I guess so. The only memories I have on the freeway were when someone talked to me. I have slept with my eyes open in the past, so I assumed people out on the freeway thought I was staying conscious because maybe my eyes were open. I only have bits of memory from when people talked to me. Later I realized I was missing much of the story. Like how the police cars got there and stopped all the cars waiting on the freeway.
DysautonomiaPosted October 3, 2020 by T.
I've been told that I faint with my eyes open, and I have seen video of it as well. I have Dysautonomia, specifically Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or P.O.T.S. Sometimes I receive a warning, but many times I do not. It frequently happens after showers, when standing in lines, or standing anywhere. I have only fainted while sitting once. There is no proven cause for this condition but there are treatments available, such as compression stockings, increased fluids by mouth or IV, extra salt and many medications. I was diagnosed by a cardiologist during a Tilt Table Test (TTT) and other tests. If this happens to you, please talk to your doctor about Dysautonomia.
Eyes open but couldn't seePosted August 11, 2020 by N.
Female and 17 years of age. I was walking when all of a sudden I went completely blind but this was something normal so I stood for approximately 2 seconds trying to shake it off. After those 2 seconds, it occurred to me that my sight was not coming back... soon after I could feel myself falling and even thinking I wasn't awake through it all but I was still aware of what was happening with my body then. My cousin tried waking me up soon after she heard my body hitting the floor, however, when I woke up she told me that my eyes were widely open the whole time.

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