Sensory System


Why is it possible to smell (or “taste”) medications, such as eye drops that have been placed in the eyes?

Medications placed in the eyes can pass through the nasolacrimal duct into the nasal cavity, where their odor can be detected. Because much of our taste sensation is actually smell, the medication is perceived to have a taste.

Olfactory nerves in the nose are what allow people to sense smells. (From Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W., and Parasido, M.A. Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. 2nd Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2001.)

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