Light can make some people sneeze

Did you know that Light can make some people sneeze?

Between 18% and 35% of the human population is estimated to be affected by a so-called “photic sneeze reflex,” a heritable condition that results in sneezing when the person is exposed to bright light.

The exact cause of the reflex is poorly understood, but people have been kicking around possible explanations for millennia; Aristotle, for example, chalked the reflex up to the heat of the sun on one’s nose, while most modern-day scientists posit that a cranial nerve responsible for facial sensation and motor control (that is in close proximity to the optic nerve) picks up on electrical signals intended for the optic nerve and tells the brain that there is an irritant in the nose that needs to be cleared out.

1 thought on “Light can make some people sneeze”

  1. I did not know this, very interesting. I am curious if artificial light has the same effect. In that case Aristotle would be inconclusive about the heat causing it.

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