Open Eyes While Unconscious Symptom, Causes & Questions

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 Causes of Open Eyes While Unconscious

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

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

Vasovagal syncope

Vasovagal syncope is sudden fainting caused by a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure when your body overreacts to certain emotional or neurologic triggers. A loss of consciousness occurs due to reduced blood flow to the brain.

Those with vasovagal syncope will also experienc...

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

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 if you answer yes on any of these questions.

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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 .

Hear what 1 others are saying
Cavernoma found—15 minutes of vegetative statePosted May 23, 2020 by J.

Female age 41. While asleep I fell off the bed and my husband woke up to the sound of me falling. I apparently remained unconscious but would respond to stimulus, looking him in the eye while continuing to snore. After 15 minutes I came to (EMS was on the scene) and I was sent to the emergency department of the local hospital. I had a chest CT and a brain MRI and was found to have a cavernous malformation in the left hemisphere of my brain.

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