Photic Sneeze Reflex?

What is the Photic Sneeze Reflex and how do I know if I have it? Is it a disease? If so, what are the symptoms?

asked by Domino in Men's Health | 2595 views | 08-05-2009 at 07:31 PM

Photic Sneeze Reflex is not a disease.
It is a genetic autosomal dominant trait, which causes sneezing when exposed suddenly to bright light, possibly many times consecutively. It is also referred to as photic sneeze response, sun sneezing, photogenic sneezing, the photosternutatory reflex, being photo sensitive, ACHOO syndrome, and Achooism, named after the sound made when sneezing, along with its related backronym Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome. The condition affects 18-35% of the human population.

I personally haven't met anyone in my entire life with this characteristic. I think it is not as common as the percentages say.

answered by Julio | 08-05-2009 at 07:33 PM

Photic sneeze reflex: A disorder, also known as the achoo syndrome, characterized by nearly uncontrollable paroxysms of sneezing provoked in a reflex fashion by the sudden exposure of a dark-adapted subject to intensely bright light, usually to brilliant sunlight. The number of successive sneezes is usually 2 or 3, but can be up to about 40.

The photic sneeze reflex as a risk factor to combat pilots.

A sneeze is usually triggered by an irritation in the nose, which is sensed by the trigeminal nerve, a cranial nerve responsible for facial sensation and motor control. This nerve is in close proximity to the optic nerve, which senses, for example, a sudden flood of light entering the retina. As the optic nerve fires to signal the brain to constrict the pupils, the theory goes, some of the electrical signal is sensed by the trigeminal nerve and mistaken by the brain as an irritant in the nose. Hence, a sneeze.

answered by Delili | 08-05-2009 at 07:35 PM

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