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Sun Causes Sneezing

June 11, 2009
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At least for me. For many years, bright lights have caused me to sneeze- particularly sunlight and particularly when first walking outside. People have told my I was crazy to think that bright lights caused me to sneeze. But it’s true.

About 60% of the population has this “disorder”. It is autosomal dominant- so it’s passed on from parents to their kids if the dominant gene is passed on vs the recessive gene. I’ve never noticedd either of my parents sneeze when walking outside, but my mom has sensitivities to lights.

It seems that this happens by overstimulation of the optic nerve which triggers the trigeminal nerve. I’ve wondered if there is any connection to this and migranes. Light sensitivity is pretty common with migranes and it would be interesting to know what percent of migrane sufferers have photic sneeze reflex from bright lights.

See wikipedia for photic sneeze reflex for more info.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. ladlam permalink
    June 14, 2009 4:37 PM

    I get this too! Usually not bad enough to actually need to sneeze, but when I walk in to bright light (usually outside after being trapped in the office all day) I definitely feel like I want to sneeze.
    No migraines here though…

  2. June 15, 2009 2:43 PM

    I sneeze, not just when I walk outside, but even if I’ve been outside for awhile. I always thought I was strange, but apparently it’s just a reflex :).

    Migranes galore over here. Oh well, I’ll live :).

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