Mysterious Light-Sneeze Reflex, Explained

Between 18 and 35 percent of people sneeze when they look at light.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 11.05.14 AM

If looking at the sun or a light bulb makes you sneeze, then you carry the gene for the photic sneeze reflex, or—as it’s called by some clever otolaryngologists—autosomal dominant compulsive helio-ophthalmic outbursts of sneezing (ACHOO). Doctors think the light directly or indirectly stimulates the trigeminal nerve that runs to the face and mucus membrane, accidentally setting off a sneeze response in the process.

Read more: