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Do you sneeze in bright light?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by humuhumu, Mar 29, 2006.

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Do you sneeze when exposed suddenly to bright light?

  1. Yes, all the time.

    62 vote(s)
  2. Yes, sometimes.

    79 vote(s)
  3. Yes, but only rarely.

    22 vote(s)
  4. No, never.

    61 vote(s)
  5. Is this a joke?

    52 vote(s)
  1. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2005
    Do you have a photic sneeze reflex? In other words, when you go outside and bright sunlight hits your eyes, do you sneeze? Studies have shown it's an autosomal dominant condition that is present to varying degrees in about 25% of the population. I'm wondering if that figure holds up here.

    BTW, the condition has also been referred to as the ACHOO syndrome (Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst). :laugh:
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  3. retroMD

    retroMD Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    hello wisconsin!
    It happens to me all the time. For real!
  4. tacrum43

    tacrum43 Behold the mighty echidna 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    That is so strange. I think I might have that, actually. I'll have to pay closer attention to when I sneeze from now on. :laugh:
  5. Agent Splat

    Agent Splat Viruses? Don't Exist. 10+ Year Member

    When I feel like I have to sneeze, I usually WANT to so I can get it out of my system and feel better...I always find that looking directly into a lamp or other bright light will, 90% of the time, get the sneeze out.
  6. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    Miami, FL
    Same here...i hate that feeling when you ALMOST sneeze and can't get it out. It's very unfulfilling, almost like, well, er, nevermind. But true, in those situations I look for a bright light and stare at it until I get the sneeze almost aways works. The sun or a bright incandescent bulb does it. It's so weird, but true.
  7. retroMD

    retroMD Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    hello wisconsin!
  8. DOctorJay

    DOctorJay 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2004
    actually, when i get the urge to sneeze but don't think it's coming i will look into the light and this will get me to sneeze.

    but if you DON'T want to sneeze, think of pink elephants, seriously.

  9. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum 5+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2005
    I don't sneeze when I see bright lights, but I DO cough when I put a q-tip in my ear.

    I either cough or have the urge to cough when I clean my ears
  10. pnasty

    pnasty Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    haha i always thought there was something wrong with me
  11. NapeSpikes

    NapeSpikes Believe, hon. 10+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2004
    I've always wondered, why can't you sneeze with your eyes opened?
  12. inverse_scatter

    inverse_scatter Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2006
    That's entirely different -- everyone gets that, to some degree. (It's because the Cranial nerve X which innervates your pharynx and lungs -- and controls the sensory part of cough reflexes -- also has a small auricular branch in your external autitory tube. You are irritating this branch when you clean your ears, so you trigger the reflex.)
  13. medhacker

    medhacker We can end world poverty! 7+ Year Member

    I don't get that or the bright light achoo :cool:
  14. inverse_scatter

    inverse_scatter Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2006
    Maybe you just don't clean your ears? (Just kidding!)
    I did say "to some degree". You probably can trigger the reflex, if you try hard enough... (Not that I would recommend it...)
  15. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee. Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Nope. Not me. I go outside, close my eyes, breathe deeply, and feel absolutely exhilarated to feel the sun warm on my face as I turn it to the sky. Seriously. :)
  16. GA_MDhopeful

    GA_MDhopeful Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    be careful with that!

    my little anecdote: a friend's dad was cleaning out his ears while sitting on the floor & watching TV. his little 5 year old boy enters the room, runs around in a hyper craze & knocks into his dad. at this point, dad accidentally jams the Q-tip into some part of the ear (don't know where exactly), ear starts bleeding profusely, has to go to the hospital & ultimately has to have some sort of reparative surgery.

    moral of this story: don't have children. :cool:
  17. Mutt

    Mutt SDN Donor 7+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Actually, mine works in a different way. Bright light doesn't necessarily make me sneeze by itself, but if I feel a sneeze coming on I immediately start trying to find bright light so that I can complete the sneeze - it's so weird!
  18. thebeatgoeson

    thebeatgoeson Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2006
    OMG, after all these years of feeling like a social outcast - no one understanding me!

    ;) Hahaha

    But yes, that's strange. I always wondered why bright light and minty gum made me sneeze twice.
  19. jebus

    jebus Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Gay republicans? They stop sneezes, too? Is there anything they can't do? You know, except women.
  20. SaturdayDwarf

    SaturdayDwarf Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2006
    My roommate sneezes uncontrollably when she plucks her eyebrows.


    Strangest thing you'll ever see.
  21. dopaminesurge

    dopaminesurge My friends calls me Steve 5+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2005
    Under your bed
    Wow... That's hilarious. I'm consistently telling people who want to sneeze but can't, "look at the light," and then they look at me like an idiot. Then I look at them like idiots - duh! Don't you know this by now? It must not be working on you because you're not looking at the light correctly... Here, watch me.
  22. anystream

    anystream Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2005
    mints do it for me, all the time.
  23. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2005
    Interesting data so far. I'm not surprised by the number of respondents who think it's a joke. That's a common response from people who don't possess the photic sneeze reflex.

    I am surprised by the high percentage of photic sneezers - over 50%. I'm one of them. Just last night I decided to "test" my reflex by staring into a desk lamp that was so bright, it was hard to keep my eyes open. Sure enough - an immediate tickle in the nose, followed by a very satisfying sneeze.
  24. SanDiegoSOD

    SanDiegoSOD Milk was a bad choice 7+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2004
    Sunny California
    Bright light is nothing special for me. I simply sneeze all day long. I'm not even kidding, I sneeze probably 10 times a day. Makes riding a motorcycle interesting at times :)
  25. mintendo

    mintendo 5+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2005

    For me it has to be the brightest light of them all: the sun.

    Something like a bright lamp won't do the trick.
  26. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Yup sometimes when i go into bright light I will sneeze. Also, if there is a sneeze that I can feel coming on but I know will not come out I will go walk over to a lamp and turn it on or look into the sun so I will sneeze.
  27. DPPM

    DPPM Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2005
    Yup, me too. And grapefruit and chocolate. No light-induced sneezing though.
  28. isocrazy

    isocrazy Joga Bonito Baby 7+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2006
    And I thought I was weird when I brought this up when i was buzzed and everybody just started at me like i was an idiot. :laugh:

    This reflex owns.
  29. Shredder

    Shredder User 5+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2004
    genetics are (is?) amazing
  30. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2005
    So is neuroanatomy. :thumbup:
  31. Shredder

    Shredder User 5+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2004
    yes but genetics (and evolution) underlie that ;)
  32. SD Skunk

    SD Skunk Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    exactly, likewise. if there's no lamp, then i think about the sun and that does the trick as well, almost every time. it doesn't seem to be the case for many other people though, so this thread is definitely of interest to me.
  33. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2005
    Wow - all you have to do is imagine the stimulus and the reflex happens?? That's cool. I can only think of one other reflex that works like that... :smuggrin:
  34. dcolon_et06

    dcolon_et06 Premed 5+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2006
    Wow and all this time I thought I was some sort of a freak for staring at the Son when I felt an irrisistable tingling sensation in my sinuses :D. I find this to be the best remedy to get a unwilling sneeze out especially when I have a stuffy nose or am sick of some sort. My Girlfriend always laughs at me when I need to sneeze and begin to stare into the Son. Well looky know. I can tell her "NO IM NOT A FREAK.. I JUST HAVE ACHOO DISORDER :p"
  35. thefafo

    thefafo Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2005
    I'm so glad there are so many others! If it's at all sunny outside, I will always sneeze. My friend looked at me like I was crazy when I told her that, and also when I told her that my eyes always tear up when I yawn, but they do!
  36. neom3x11

    neom3x11 Free your MinD 10+ Year Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  37. omgwtfbbq?

    omgwtfbbq? yes, really, I'm a girl 7+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    I have been doing that for years, and my friends think i'm CRAZY!!! I didn't know it was a genetic condition! Yay!!!!!!!!! I'm not nuts!!! Everytime i walk outside into brightsunlight i sneeze. Like clockwork. Only in REAL light though. bright spotlights don't do the same thing.
  38. excalibur

    excalibur Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    My father, brother, and I all do it. I think my dad has it the worst. I've never seen my mom do it though. It's only bright sunlight too. When we leave a restaurant to go to the car around lunchtime, my dad says, "I guarantee I'm going to sneeze before we get to the car". It's always a given.
  39. lookslikerain

    lookslikerain Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2006
    North Carolina

    haha. yeah, i do it too. i just sneeze a lot, period. and always in threes or twos, i never sneeze just once. :rolleyes:
  40. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!! Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2001
    I do too !! tell your roomie she's not alone. Mine's not uncontrollable, but I always sneeze when i tweeze my eyebrows. I'm always worried one day I'm going to sneeze to hard and crack my head open on the bathroom mirror. :laugh:
  41. basfan2000

    basfan2000 Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    Red wine makes me sneeze, but just after the first gulp/sip.
  42. Sondra

    Sondra UMC 2010 10+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    It happens to me very often.

    I have actually trained myself to sneeze on demand. I know this sounds odd, but once I figured out that sunlight made me sneeze, I began looking up towards the sun or another bright light anytime I felt like I was about to sneeze. I did this in order to speed up the time between when I first felt a tickle to when I actually sneezed.

    Now, if I am thinking about sneezing, and I look up, I will sneeze. Even if it is in a dim room.

    I know I am odd. It's okay.
  43. MiesVanDerMom

    MiesVanDerMom D.o. or Die 10+ Year Member

    it can be dangerous when driving. sometimes i get the sun in my eyes and begin sneexing uncontrollably. i'm going around a curve or something and can't get the visor down. and i can't see because i'm sneezing. frustrating.

    i inherited it from my mom as did all 3 of my sisters and my dad has always claimed we're making it up. I read the link from the OP and since the optic nerve is involved, i'm wondering if the effect would be magnified or reduced in my son who has optic nerve atrophy. he definately has the reflex, so i guess it isn't reduced very much if at all.

    ETA: my husband does not have this trait, but in extreme situations he will sneeze, i think almost anyone will in an extreme enough situation.
  44. Miss Doctor

    Miss Doctor Junior Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    The bright light helps me too but then sometimes in order to sneeze I have to also be thinking "don't sneeze, don't sneeze don't sneeze" and that's when I usually sneeze. I haven't tried that method with other situations but now I'm wondering.... :)
  45. SuzieQ3417

    SuzieQ3417 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Lol...that used to happen to me when I first started plucking my eyebrows. It's gone away for the most part, but sometimes it still makes me sneeze.
  46. scotttennis

    scotttennis Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Des Moines, IA
    My brother has this too. It's always funny when it happens.
  47. Bluntman

    Bluntman 5+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Yaaay there are fellow people with the "photic sneeze"! I actually had a problem that featured it in a genetics class once. Apparently in rare cases it can go on for minutes, which i guess explains why it is negatively selected against evolutionarily. Here's the link to the page about it on NCBI.
  48. lilnoelle

    lilnoelle Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    haha, now I feel funny, I thought EVERYONE sneezed in bright light. I definitely do, as do all of my imediate family (becomes real obvious when you have children). It isn't exactly something that I discuss with others, and so I just assumed it was normal... I never considered it to be a genetic thing.
  49. WhatUpDoc!

    WhatUpDoc! The Sign Says It All 10+ Year Member

    Friggin unbelievable!!! You people actually do this in bright light? Weirdos... go seek help, j/k :laugh:
  50. KristopherHogan


    Jan 22, 2011
    When I was a kid, about 7 years old, I had a sneeze that didn't want to come out when I noticed the sun glaring off a car windshield. As soon as I looked at the light, I sneezed.

    Since then, I've used light my entire life(I'm 30 now) to help a struggling sneeze along. Not just the sun. I use light bulbs a lot, especially in a dark room at night. If I feel the need in that situation, I just turn a light on and look into it. I use the light shining off of snow also, by staring directly at the snow.

    There's really no staring involved in it for me anymore. I used to concentrate on the light for a few seconds in order for it to work. Then, in my early twenties I noticed that when I did that there was some accompanying body language involved. My breathing would enter a certain rhythm and the muscles around my eyes and nose would flex in a certain way just as the light caused me to sneeze. Now I just flex those same facial muscles at the same moment I look into the light and it happens instantly.

    In the last few years I've noticed that I can use that technique in combination with softer light, such as a television screen, a computer monitor, the screen on my cell phone, and even at certain times a cigarette lighter.

    I can also cause myself to sneeze by tugging gently on an eyebrow hair or nose hair.

    These techniques only make me sneeze if I want them to.

    If I sneeze simply because my body needs to sneeze without any help from me, I sneeze twice. Otherwise, if I make myself sneeze, I can do it as many times as I want until my eyes become overly accustomed to the light source that I'm using. I've sneezed up to 12 in row before on purpose, to prove these things to my friends.

    I've never met anyone else that can make themselves sneeze or that use these techniques to do so. When I tell people about it, they respond as if I'm joking or lying. Finding this thread is like the light source I needed to invoke a sneeze that's been waiting my whole life. Feels nice.
  51. StudyShy

    StudyShy XOXO 10+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Arisen from the dead. :)

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