A doctor has claimed that it's possible, under rare and certain circumstances, to fart yourself blind. Yes, we too are skeptical.
Plastic surgeon turned part-time Tik Tok star Dr Anthony Youn gave an unlikely response to an even more unlikely comment claiming “I once farted so hard I went blind for 3 minutes". The surgeon posted a video to address the comment, backing up the possibility.
"Although this is very unlikely, if the gas you pass is extremely pungent, it could contain large amounts of hydrogen sulfide," the doctor said in the video.
“Studies show that hydrogen sulfide is very effective in reducing blood pressure. And if it reduces blood pressure to the central retinal artery, your silent but deadly toot could theoretically make you go blind. So be careful if you’re making a lot of bubbles in your bathtub.”
So, is this plausible? Let's look at the numbers.
Hydrogen sulfide is something that can cause your gas to be especially pungent, with the odor compared with rotten eggs or cabbage. It's also true that exposure to higher levels of the gas can cause "respiratory symptoms that range from rhinitis to acute respiratory failure" at concentrations from 10-500 parts per million (ppm), to being instantly fatal at 500-1,000 ppm.
It's also true that the gas can "affect multiple organs, causing temporary or permanent derangements in the nervous, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, and hematological systems." I.e. get enough of it in your system, and you could increase your blood pressure as described by Youn.
However, you would have to be producing a hell of a lot of the gas in order to reach these unsafe thresholds. Thanks to a study by gastroenterologist Michael Levitt from the Minneapolis Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centre, we know that concentrations found in the farts of the healthy are at around 30.69 ppm, or 30.69 milligrams per liter.
As healthy humans produce a volume of flatulence ranging from 476 to 1,491 milliliters, this means you would either have to find some sort of system of storage without the flatulence dissipating, then inhale it all at the end of a few days, or force all your daily allowance out in one go in order to even be approaching unsafe levels of hydrogen sulfide inhalation. Then you would have to be unlucky enough for it to reduce pressure to your central retinal artery.
In short, unless you make special arrangements, you are probably not going to fart yourself blind.