scientists are clever

I suffer from a condition that makes me sneeze when exposed to grow-lamps or the sun. For years people tried to tell us sun-sneezers that we were allergic to pollen and it was a coincidence that we sneezed outside. But we all knew that the sneeze started in the eyes somehow, we felt the sneeze trigger in our eyes.

I did a little research into this, and some scientists gave it an official name: Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome. I can put that on my resume.

Apparently one in four people are affected by ADCHOO (get it?). I’ve only ever met like 3 people with it. Steven claims to sneeze when he combs his hair.


95 thoughts on “scientists are clever

  1. I guess I am not the only one. I have been like that for years but never really had an answer why. The only thing I knew was that people always laughed at me for it. Next time I’ll just blame it on “Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome” and see what kind or reaction I get from others.

    Thanks for the research on ADCHOO…

  2. I’ve experienced it, and it really does feel like it begins in the eyes. I heard on a science program (Quirks & Quarks probably) that the syndrome results from the optic nerve and the sneeze reflex nerves being in close proximity.

    My theory:
    I’ve noticed my dog sneezes to “clear her pallette” after she’s sniffed at something, and I began to think that ADCHOO syndrome is really a left over from when our mamillian ancestors lived in burrows. Upon emerging, bright light would trigger a sneeze, clearing out the stale air so they could better sniff out predators or prey.

    So, I’d be curious to know if this ADCHOO thing is common in other animals.

  3. I am a sun sneezer from away back and on my daughter’s first day in the world when I carried her down a hallway through a patch of sunlight she sneezed. It is definately related to the willies, the chill up the spine feeling as I get that just before the big honkin’s achhooooooooooo.

  4. I just dug up this article that was forwarded to me by a very clever chemistry honours major friend of mine, who is an ADCHOO sympathizer:

    Sneezing usually occurs when the nerve endings of the mucous membrane of the nose are irritated, due to a swelling of the membrane, for example when we have a cold, or when some foreign body, such as a gnat, invades our nose, or when allergy and pollen season strike.

    Surprisingly enough, sneezing can be brought on (or out!) when the optic nerves in our eyes are exposed to bright light!

    For whatever reason, the membrane is irritated, sneezing is a reflex act, completely beyond our control, by which the nose trumpets out air in an attempt to eject (and project!) the irritating bodies. Sometimes, however, this is accomplished only through multiple sneezes.

    Medical science dispelled ancient beliefs concerning the out-of-control sneeze, and snuffed out superstitions in the process. Primitive people held the belief that a sneeze signified approaching death, and immediately assisted the distressed person by crying out “God help you!” Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, saw the sneeze as an omen of approaching danger, or, on a more positive note, as a way of foretelling the future. Lucky ones sneezed to the right, while unlucky ones sneezed to the left. The moral of the story is to know your right from your left, and to sneeze in that direction, regardless of who is next to you!

    Biblically speaking, sneezing meant a certain death, until Jacob nosed in and made a deal with God, whereby a prayer per sneeze cheated the grim reaper. Pope Gregory the Great, in response to the sixth century plague in Italy, carved out his place in history as being the one responsible for insisting that prayers, such as “God bless you!,” be said in response to the deadly sneeze. He did not, however, order that tissues be kept close at hand to snare the airborne germs spewed forth by the sneeze.

  5. When my girlfriend said that was sneezing caused by the sun, I laughed at her. She’ll love this.

    Rob’s claim is true, I do get the urge to sneeze when combing my hair (those who see me regularly would know that this isn’t a big problem for me). Let me be clear, I don’t have dandruff (I don’t think) or any particles from my hair that makes me sneeze – I think it’s the tension on my scalp or something. Seriously.

  6. Steven: That sounds all too familiar but I am the one that is always laughed at.

    During the summer it is almost a guarantee that when I look in the direction of the sun, I am going to sneeze. It would never happen twice in a row but it would always happen the first time and nobody would ever believe me that it was the sun. I am now curious to see how much of a bigger laugh I will get when I say its ADCHOO or better yet tell them itย’s Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome.

    Thatย’s definitely going to be a challenge to remember but I can see it coming in handy one day.

  7. For years I’ve sneezed a few minutes after my first exposure to the warm rays of each sunny day. I’ve jokingly commented that I must be allergic to the sun, but couldn’t decide if it was real or just my imagination. Now I know – but I’ll never be able to remember that name.

  8. I thought it was a common thing to sneeze when you look at the sun. Now I feel kinda odd, oh well good to know.

  9. This is incredibly normal. Hell, I so expected it growing up–Mom taught me and my brother how to force a sneeze by looking at a bright light–that I thought it was weird when people *couldn’t* do it.

    We just had this discussion at work last week. Found a stat that said 1 in 4 people can sneeze like this. Count me in!

  10. I sneeze if I stick my finger too far up my nose – past the second knuckle, say. Scientists are baffled.

  11. Yes!
    The ignominy. We must stand strong together.
    No one ever believes us. I’ve been a sun-sneezer
    forever, and had this questionable quasi-physiological
    explanation laid out for me a few years ago by another

    It goes: the sneeze reflex also triggers a squinting
    reflex in the eyes, to jam the eyes closed just before
    the moment of sneeze, in order to keep the eyeballs in
    the head in spite of the tremendous pressures built up
    at the Climactic Moment in the throat, nasal cavities,
    eustacean tubes, and even that funny leaky microduct
    that connects the nasal cavity to the tear ducts
    [ever meet anyone who could make their tear ducts
    whistle by plugging their nose and blowing??]

    (Sneeze air velocity is literally tens (or I’ve even
    heard hundreds??) of miles an hour, for one brief
    moment, acting upon a small volume of air.)

    The sun-sneeze argument suggests that an intense,
    sudden squint reflex (triggered by looking into
    extremely bright light–the sun, or the center of
    a very bright light bulb) can actually back-propagate
    through flaky neural wiring to trigger the sneeze
    reflex, so the sneeze->squint reflex association
    happens in reverse order. The nerves are close
    together, or share the same wires, or are jumpy and
    fidgety, or whatever.

    Whaddya think of that Scienz??


  12. Aside from a game of hide and seek, I can’t see any reason why I wouldn’t want to sneeze. I enjoy sneezing. Oh wait. No. I don’t like to sneeze when I have a sore throat. That stings. But otherwise, I find it quite enjoyable. And I don’t know why.

    Nothing is worse (as far as sneezing is concerned) than an unresolved sneeze-burn. An “ahh… ahh” without a “chu”. I call that the sneeze burn.

  13. Well, now this is interesting. My whole family has this trait (at least as far as I know they all do). It appears to be a genetic condition which is passed down along with tremendous intellect (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!).

    Seriously, I can make myself sneeze by looking at a PICTURE of a light if I hold it over my head and look up as if it were the mid-day sun. Any sudden transition from fairly dark to fairly light triggers this in me especially if the light is concentrated in a small area such as a bulb or pin source. Fluorescent, not being “real” lights, do not seem to trigger this. I think I’m more sensitive to the red end of the spectrum than the blue.

    Perhaps we should get a bunch ‘o sneezers together and perform experiments on each other to see if there are spectral difference and if those differences run in families.

    I used to think that if I walked outside at noon on a bright sunny day and immediately sneezed that everyone would know that I’d just got up (I was a teenager). Now I’ve come to realize that not only do more than 80% of the population not have this trait, but only about half of those who do are actually aware of it.


    Oh, and one more thing. The air that escapes from the mouth during a sneeze can exceed the speed of sound… in the 800 MPH range. And, people who sneeze incorrectly (force it through the nose) have actually died because of ruptured blood vessels in the head. A proper sneeze is out the mouth with the Bernoulli effect being the source of air movement (inward) in the nose.

  14. Me Too.

    We’d walk out of church and I’d be on a sneeze rampage from the front door to the car. The worst is walking out of a crowded movie theater and having to sneeze while shoulder to shoulder with people. I usually end up smothering myself to keep from sneezing on people.

  15. Perhaps Steve remembers this: In grade 9, Derek White (the little one), was across the hall and down a room, but we would still count the number of sneezes he could string together on a given morning. I think we only counted out loud with substitute teachers, they being more amused by the novelty, or perhaps just less able to shut us up.

  16. I thought it was a common folk remedy to look at the sun if you had a sneeze that wouldn’t come – I’ve been reminded of that by lots of people and also thought it worked for everyone.

  17. Re: Derek White (the small one).
    THAT WAS MY CLASS!!!! Not only was it funny to listen to, but he used to plug his nose and his head would get abnormally red. His record was 26 in a row I believe.

  18. Wow. It seems we’ve all had the same experience — claim to be a sun-sneezer, be laughed at by your friends. I knew I wasn’t imagining it.

    Kottke said: Sun sneezer right here. My sneezes almost always come in threes as well.

    Mine come in twos. Anybody know why some people always sneeze in multiples? Is it somehow related to the sun-sneeze?

  19. Why does looking at the sun make you sneeze?

    Those who’ve studied this question believe it is because the cranial nerves run very close to one another inside the head. When a stimulus as bright as the sun strikes the optic nerve through the eye, it stimulates a reflex reaction in the nearby olfactory nerve, triggering a sneeze. A portion of the population will sneeze every time they look toward the sun; for a larger portion, sunlight merely helps a sneeze along.

    Courtesy of the Ask Jeeves Desk Calender, Monday August 19. Thank you, Jeeves.

  20. Sun sneezers of the world, unite !

    There’s a site for it ! A group of European photic sneezers has pooled information in Photic sneezing resources :

    A lot of the points raised here are mentioned – theories on how it happens (‘leaking’ of signal between the optic nerve and the trigeminal nerve seems the most likely), who gets it (it seems to be heritary but several of us don’t know anyone else in the family with it), what exactly triggers it (with me it’s just sunlight, but some people are set off by artificial lights, including car headlights), how it can’t be set off twice in succession, etc. Don’t know about any relation between multiple sneezing and the photic reflex. For me, it’s usually four or six in the sun, and just two otherwise.

    It seems that ‘compulsive’ photic sneezers, who sneeze every time they are exposed to the appropriate light, not only recognize the trait in themselves but realise it’s uncommon. When I was a kid I thought it was common because several members of my family have it. But from the time I went to school, people were always asking me if I was allergic to the sun, so I started to get interested in it. It’s people who just experience it once in a while or just top off a sneeze that won’t come who either don’t notice it in themselves or think everyone has it.

    Anyway, those of you who have the trait, look at the site and tell us what you think ! it needs a good update.


  21. I’ve always been able (most times) to help a hung-up sneeze along by looking at a bright light. It was my experience growing up that some people could and others couldn’t.

    Some of my acquaintences always sneezed two or three times; most only once. I was one of the latter. But now, at age 76, and five years into Parkinson’s Disease, about half of my sneezes are two-bangers, wham-bang, with no breath in between. Whether a coincidence or cause-and-effect I have no idea

  22. I actually sneeze when looking at the sun or bright lights (out of the corner of my eye) *and* when getting my hair combed (e.g. at the barber) but only at certain points on the scalp, and at the right pressure.

    On the plus side, I have no known allergies and can’t so much as catch poison ivy, which must also be hereditary as my maternal grandmother couldn’t either.

  23. Another one here who was always thought of as a madman when telling people to “Look at the sun! Look at the sun!” Whenever they were trying to sneeze.

    And yes, Mints do it for me too. Five seconds after I’ve popped one I get a rush of about three sneezes. Lovely!

  24. I also have Auto-somal dominant compelling helio ophthalmic outburst syndrome, quite a pretentious name for such seemingly simply response mechanism.

    Anyway, I was informed that my grandfather also had ADCHOO, so I am incline to think it might be genetic.

    But the 1/4 figure of people with ADCHOO does seem a bit high; I only know one other person with ADCHOO.

  25. I have sneezed (and been laughed at) all of my life when going out into the sun (i.e., coming out of a store). I never knew anyone else did it until now. My sons also do it but I thought it was just something odd inherited from me. We are a sight…the 3 of us walking throught the parking lot taking turns sneezing. I am glad to finally get an explanation for it.

  26. I have found that those who sneeze in the sun will always be like “Yeah, of course that happens” as if it happens to everyone when you ask them if they know about it. When you ask someone that doesn’t know about it, they ask “What the hell are you talking about?” I find it funny that both sides rarely realize there is the other way.

  27. My sister suffers from this same condition. Until I recently read an article in a science magazine about this syndrome, I didn’t realize it actually existed. I thought my sister’s sneezes were not the result of sunlight, but that they were caused by pollen or dust in the air.

    I, on the other hand, sneeze immediately after chewing a mint. Could the two be related? Hmm…

  28. I sneeze at mints and sunlight too! Only when I am first exposed to them though – I sneeze two or three times when i look at the sun, and similar when i have my first mint or piece of chewing gum! Everyone in my office thought it was weird and laughed at me! At least I’m not alone!

  29. I found this MB while doing a Google search on Autosomal dominant compelling helio ophthalmic outburst syndrome (ACHOO or ADCHOOS, depending on how literal you want to take the acronym thing). I have had this all my life, and my mother laughed at me until she saw a story about it on one of those TV magazine shows. My brother found the correct name for it and emailed it to me (he suffers from the disorder as well). I’m just glad to know I’m not crazy! I have tried to tell people for years that it’s the sun making me sneeze, and nobody believed me!

  30. I’ve got it too. My sister and brother and I inherited it from our mom. I was just visiting my brother over Christmas, and found out his three-month old baby son also has it. My sister-in-law had gotten accustomed to it from my brother, otherwise the sight of the baby sneezing in bright light would have seemed weird to her. I am not sure whether their older son has it, but I’d like to find out, since it seems a lot of ACHOOers are coming into the light these days ( bah-dum-DUM).

    Anyway, I wrote about this in the fall before my second nephew was born. I forgot to find out whether his older brother has it, too. It was so funny to see the baby sneeze in light and know exactly why he was sneezing, and know that it’s a family thing.

    My brother and I talked about it, too. Both of us thought it was perfectly natural growing up until we realized we were not in the majority. And of course it’s funny that those who don’t have it don’t know about it and think we’re loopy. One person commented that her sons have it, and when she noticed it she was worried because she thought they had some “weird heliophobic disease.”

  31. I was about six or seven when I discovered I could do something that hardly anyone else could do–in fact nobody I knew had ever run across anyone who could just sneeze whenever she felt like it. Being a New York City street kid, I decided to try to profit from it.

    Being one who has always enjoyed research, I ran a couple of light checks and realized that if I looked at a white sky, a bright blue sky, a white wall in the sun, or light reflected off water (or, as I discovered later, snow), I would sneeze at least once, and often twice.

    I then set about betting people that I could make myself sneeze. Until everyone got wise to me, I had a fairly steady supply of sodas and double-scoop ice cream cones. My closest friends were the first ones to blow the whistle. Before long my entrepreneurial days were over and I had to take an early retirement.

    But I recall that as being a very lovely summer–all the ice cream I could eat.

  32. Hey, sun sneezers! I’m doing a science fair project and any of you (the 20% of the population) have ANY information on this topic please email me. It would be greatly appreciated.
    -Sneeze on!

  33. Yes I too am a sun-sneezer. Took a while to convince my fiance of it, but now he waits for my sneezes (usually two) when we walk outside. I’ve taken to putting sunglasses on before I walk outside, usually quells the sneeze reflex. I realized early-on that there were two kinds of people in the world – those who sun-sneezed, and those who looked at you like you grew a third eye when you talked of the subject!

    I also occasionally sneeze when I put on eyeshadow – I can feel everytime I brush over a certain spot on my eyelid a tickle in my nose. It’s the craziest damn thing.


  34. I just wanted to say “thank you” for making things clearer on the ADCHOO explaination. I didn’t think I was such a rarity when I’d look at the sun or a bright light to “assist” in a sneeze.

    Thanks again.
    God bless you!!

  35. I just had a conversation with my boss about how I’m “allergic” to mints or minty gum because I sneeze every time I have one. I also yawn when I sing- profusely, and always at the same part in the chorus. I thought I was the only one until I offered a friend at church a piece of gum and we sneezed at the same time. He is also a yawner while singing. I decided it’s not an allergy.. it’s some kind of reflex. It’s very illuminating that a few other people have this too.. if you have any more info about it, please contact me.. I’d love to hear more from the mint sneezers (I’ve never sneezed at the sun). Thanks.

  36. Here’s a question… I’m researching ADD and read that people with ADD are sensitive to light. Is there a connection between ADD and PSR? How many of you have PSR AND ADD? Curious… Plus, I am noticing a lot of ‘moms’ tend to have PSR, so is it passed along through the mother’s side? My mom and I both sneeze in sunlight. I possibly have ADD. I’m wondering if that would mean my mother also has ADD.


  37. I just happened to stubble upon this site. I’m a sun sneezer too. No one really seemed to believe me. I look up outside and a few seconds later, sure enough I’m sneezing. I also sneeze when I have really strong mints or minty gum. It just seems so weird. But i’m finally glad to see that other people do it too…

  38. I’m so glad I found this site! for so long my friends have thought I was some kind of a lunatic b/c everytime I walk outside or into a room with really bright light I usually sneeze at least 2 or 3 times! It’s good to know I’m not alone now! And now I actually know the real name to call it now!(like i’ll ever remember it!) It must be genetic b/c my dad also does it too…does this mean that my kids will also?

  39. A few things can make me sneeze, Mints, Dark chocolate, The sun, A glare on a car or the like, having my back tickled (doesn’t take much i’m like the tickle king, you can wiggle your fingers from two feet away and i keel over and giggle my face red o_O) having my hair combed in the right place, and i can yawn on command, as many times as i want, no matter what the conditions! It seems my father and my grandfather both suffer from these exact things! Maybe they’re all related, anyway if you actually read this email me! I want to talk.

  40. Yeah I am a sun sneezer too! But the weird thing is, that my freinds and my family notice that my pupils dialate and contract really fast, I usually sneeze about 11 times in a row outside. I also noticed that after a “sneezing episode” I could barley stand the light of the outside world, .
    hmm… It seems that this may be some form of epelepsy? Or what? My condition sounds worse than all of yours, and ADD is not a real disorder, its a generalized term for a link of very, very unrelated symptoms, that which, If studied on the general non ADD public will pull up likely results.

  41. Hi…A Sun sneezer here also. I’m really glad I found this site. I’m incredibly interested in this and ‘sneezing’ in general. I would love to chat with anyone who is interested. Feel free to respond to me on here or send me Email at

    P.S. I think the feeling of a good sneeze is an incredible release! Does that make me a bit weird?

  42. I am a sun sneezer and a mint sneezer and have been all my life…everyone I have ever told thinks I’m crazy. I can sneeze up to ten times in a row by eating a polo mint.

  43. My mom, my dad and I are all sun sneezers. I always thought that anyone could do it, and when I tried to discuss it with my BROTHER, he thought I was crazy! To which I promptly looked up a similar article to this one on the net and printed it out. I also seem to derive extreme pleasure from sneezing, and often do it quite a few times in a row. I think I inherited the marathon sneezing trait from my mother.

  44. Yes, everyone. It is genetic. Thats what “Autosomal Dominant” means (among other, more specific things), if I’m not mistaken. ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. I am a sun sneezer ( or any sudden light sneezer). Normally 3 or 4 in a row.

    I found an interesting piece by a doctor or a neurologist check out the web site above, very informative

    Its amazing
    I have never come accross so many people all with the same disposition for sneezing…a proper little sneezing comunity.

    I find the sun sneezing thing odd though, if someone found a cure would you take it?

  46. hehehe, I love this!
    I found this thread while doing research on why my Dentyne Ice made me sneeze. Im glad I found it!

    So yeah, I sneeze because of the sun too. (and because of mints.) I think its a herity thing because my mom use to do it and my brothers do it too. We like to scream out “SOLAR SNEEZE!!” when one of us does it. It’s kinda a fun little thing we have going on. It’s our weird way of bonding. lol.

    No, if there was a cure for sneezing I wouldn’t take it. I LOVE TO SNEEZE. **nosegasm**

  47. No, i wouldn’t take it either lol^_^ I’m researching this a bit, and i’m gonna attempt to find which chromosome holds this. Wish me luck on this.

  48. You sneeze when you look at the sun because your body is telling you to “STOP LOOKING AT THE SUN OR YOUR GONNA DAMAGE YOUR EYES!”
    The back of your eyes (the retina) is very delicate and bright lights can damage the “rods and cones” on the back, thus giving you altered vision, where your eyes are irritated by a light that you cant get rid of. Even when you look away fromn the sun, the light is “imprinted” onto the back of your eyes and can take hours to go away. Sun sneezers will know that when you sneeze by looking at the sun, you dont want to do it again.
    So my theory is your body is telling you to ‘STOP HURTING YOUR EYES’

    Please tell me what you think…

  49. I am a sun sneezer.
    I have recently purchased a Brite Light box to boost the sun light from suffering from the Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). Although you do not stare at the light you can glance at it from time to time. This always triggers a sneeze. If you look into the theory (scientific evidence based) of how low levels affect the Pineal gland via the optic nerve and chiasm then possibly the sun light stimulating a deeper responce within the cortex is able to be that cause of the sneeze responce. The Brite Box is able to give 10,000 lux output. If I stare or look into a normal bright light then this does not trigger a sneeze reflex.
    Mints also stimulate a sneeze (extra strong)

  50. everytime i walk outside, the sun triggers 7 or 8 sneezes in my nose. that is not a lot for me bc usually i sneeze about 30 times in a row, 2-4 times a day-no breaths in between. when i horseback ride every monday, i sneeze about 60 or 70 times in a row, with a half second breath every 20 sneezes or so. i went to the doctor & he said that one of the bones in my nose is crooked, so i sneeze more than the typical person. while i was writing this i sneezed 42 times with no breath in between the sneezes. isn’t that weird how often i sneeze? my record is 97 when i was horseback riding on a trail with my friend. she counted for me. she counted 99 but i think it was 97.

  51. Yes-that is very weird. I am 26 and I usually only sneeze 4-6 times in a row, about 3 times a day. How old are you by the way?

  52. Hello, from a fellow sun sneezer!
    It’s so cool to find all of you. I too was not believed and made fun of for years. My MO is 2-3. I’m not sure where I get my syndrom from, Mom and Dad don’t, but some of my cousins do. Mom does sneeze when she drinks though (excessively; take that either way). I don’t have to look at the sun, just walking out into the bright daylight will do it, driving on a sunny day when the light is coming through a bunch of trees (bright, dark, bright, dark….) is a trigger for me. Just the bright lights of a room after leaving a dark one can cause an event. Watching a movie in the theater is no fun, my eyes water and I get all stuffed up. So, it’s not really my body trying to protect my eyes, I don’t think.
    Just knowing that this little community exists is comforting. Thanks, Jen

  53. is it bad to hold in sneezes? does holding sneezes in trigger more bc when i don’t hold them in i don’t sneeze more than 13 times. when i hold them in i can go on forever! also, i don’t get breaths after my sneezes, they QUICKLY follow each other. does this happen to anyone else? i breathe very heavily after a series of sneezes to try & catch my breath.

  54. my little six year-old is the first sun sneezer in the family. she can’t stop sneezing outdoors. the poor kid thinks she’s “allergic” to the sun and won’t play outside. kaylie, my daughter sneezes many times in a row too with no breaths, the sneezes come in sets of 4-10 and come every 30 seconds in the sun. she needs her inhaler after sneezing bc she loses her breath. i wonder why that happens to people. does anyone else lose their breath when sneezing?

  55. Ohh its a miracle thank god i found this I thought i was going crazy. the best thing is that i proved my boyfriend wrong! My dad was the only other person who sneezed because of the sun, so to know we’re not the only weirdos of the world is good news. besides, the sneezing is fun. its like an orgasm through the nose. wee!

  56. I sneeze like, three times an hour. People have stopped blessing me.

    AND I always sneeze incessantly when I tweeze my eyebrows. Sneeze… tweeze.

  57. My family teases me mercilessly about my sun sneezes. When I was in school I sneezed in the same spot every sunny day walking out of the school. I have continued this sneezing syndrome throughout my life. Today my daughter was teasing me yet again and I proclaimed that I’d bet there were other people just like me. Was I ever delighted to learn that I suffer from ADCHOO. I also sneeze when I pluck my eyebrows. I have five children but no one else in the family is a sun sneezer.

  58. I’m an “any light source” sneezer, whether it be the sun, light bulb or whatever. It doesn’t happen every time I stare at a light, just sometimes. If I feel myself wanting to sneeze but it’s not quite happening, I can usually stare at a light and it will trigger it. I can also trigger a sneeze by applying pressure with the edge of my finger nail to the inside of my nose, holding several seconds, then staring at a light with my head tilted back. By the way, one of my nostrils is usually stopped up due to some kind of allergy, so that might have something to due with it. But there’s no denying that light facilitates my sneeze response.

  59. Well, now that Paul admits it, I too can trigger a sneeze by sticking a finger up my nose. I know my dad is a sun sneezer, and I do it too, but only rarely.

  60. Hello all you photic sneezers out there!
    I sneeze at least seven times most days usually being triggered by bright light. Sometimes I just have to look at a light bulb (on!) when I feel a sneeze coming on.My father did the same but not as often.
    But I realy love sneezing. Totally satisfying. I’ve been told it is good yoga – clears the head and strengthens the constitution. I think if I stopped, my life wouldn’t feel so fulfilled!

  61. I don’t often sneeze due to bright light, but it’s always sunlight and I always sneeze twice in response to it. The explanation that I’ve heard is that it’s reflex that forces your pupils to contract. Not sure where I heard it though.

  62. I like to sneeze. dont get me wrong but ya no. I sneeze when i see the sun but how can you sneeze when you eat a mint? i mean…oh well. but i like to sneeze. its funny to see people who cant stop sneezing. i like to laugh at them.

  63. I don’t know which is crazier: that there is a scientific explanation for sun sneezing (which I have always had and always been teased about) or that I read all these postings, laughing the whole time, at the silliness of so much time invested in talking about it! I am happy to say that my four-year-old son sneezes from the sun too, still waiting to find out if my two-year-old does too.

  64. wow i am Amazed at the ammount of sun sneezers out there, i will no longer have to put up with people calling me crazy when i clame to sneeze when i look at the sun.

    i will make it my gole to drop to phrase “Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome” in convosation tomorrow,

  65. I’ve been a sun sneezer for years, & i’ve only known one other such person. I’ve known it was called the photic sneeze response/reflex, but i only just got around to looking it up. I read it was first described by Aristotle. Also, sun sneezers can’t become fighter pilots (as if i was interested…) any other little known facts?

  66. Me too !! I’ve had this condition for years, and have been laughed at regularly, to the point that I will often slip on a pair of shades before stepping out into the bright sun. I find that living just north of the 49th parallel, in the summer, and a very snowy sunny day in the winter is about the worst for me, . I also find it scary when I have the reaction occur when driving, because when I do go off, I’m usually good for 3 or 4 rip snorters … this almost makes me a hazard on the road !! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This usually happens to me when exiting a tunnel, underpass, or emerging from within a glen of trees into the sunshine. Now to convince the POLICE that my cars LIGHT side window tinting is of a definite help to me ! I feel safer when I’m not having regular outbursts while driving !!

  67. i know a sun sneezer…i tried to prove him wrong but then i came across this wonderfully informative archive….nnnoo i still dont believe it.

    It isn’t the sun or bright light that triggers a stuck sneeze, but instead ***the act of tilting one’s head upward*** to look at the sun/light. Fluids within the nose then move back in the nasal passages thereby completing the partially stimulated sneeze reflex.

    In support of this theory, I’ve seen many dogs sneeze if you hold their snout at an upward angle for a few seconds with or without bright lights within their view.

  69. tilting head theory cant be right otherwise we’d be sneezing everytime we look up, just tried a bunch of times too, no sneezing! lol nice try though.

    I sneeze from sun too, and yup a snowy sunny day can be annoying or fun. Mints make me sneeze too, especially if the mint is down the side of my tounge (at the back.) Here’s a new one, if i stick something in my left ear that can cause it too, obviosly there’s not much need to ever do that. Dark chocolates also make me sneeze (in mouth not ear)but on a lesser scale to mints.

  70. Hi-
    I have a weird, unusual, condition . I continually get stuck sneezes. I get the urge to sneeze. I go AHHH but the Choo will not come/. This has been happening for about six months almost everyday. I do occasionally complete a sneeze. It seems I finally sneeze just about the time I am totally out of my mind from not being able to. I have researched this problem for hundreds of hours. No good answers. I have no medical conditions and I am sure this condition is psychological. I just sneezed 2 days ago after not sneezing for 2 weeks. I never had sneezing problems before in fact I never even thought about sneezing. Now, sneezing is all I can think about. Anybody have answers? I am a 57 year old male in good shape except for my neurotic mind. Thanks.

  71. Hi-
    I have a weird, unusual, condition . I continually get stuck sneezes. I get the urge to sneeze. I go AHHH but the Choo will not come/. This has been happening for about six months almost everyday. I do occasionally complete a sneeze. It seems I finally sneeze just about the time I am totally out of my mind from not being able to. I have researched this problem for hundreds of hours. No good answers. I have no medical conditions and I am sure this condition is psychological. I just sneezed 2 days ago after not sneezing for 2 weeks. I never had sneezing problems before in fact I never even thought about sneezing. Now, sneezing is all I can think about. Anybody have answers? I am a 57 year old male in good shape except for my neurotic mind. Thanks.

  72. I’ve hear you say something when you look at the sun or light and it helps you get your sneeze out what is it

  73. Photic Sneeze: Why do mermaids sneeze at the sun?
    See my explanation in Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) group in Yahoo Groups. No kiddin’.
    But why mints & tweezing, I don’t know, I do the same. DD

  74. I do sneeze when I step out into the sunlight as well. Bright lights only work when i feel like sneezing but I can’t and there is no sunshine. It really it wondorous.

  75. My sun sneezes occur during the setting sun. I don’t even have to look at the sky. When the setting sun turns into a deep golden yellow, especially during the winter months I carry on for several minutes. I have only met one other ‘sun sneezer’ but he was a dark to light sneezer. Guess it takes all kinds. Glad to know I’m not abnormal.

  76. Sometimes my stomach will start hurting and it feels like I’m going to urp. Then I sneeze and it feels better. Huh?

  77. I’ve always had this. I had always believed it was caused by light. Any light makes me sneeze, I have an extreme case. I even sneeze just by looking at white walls if I am in the dark for awhile. Driving can be quite an experience, and I really do like the sunny days more so than the cloud covered days, because the clouds spread the light out, and its like I cant get away from it. From what I’ve read, there isnt too many people that are as sensitive as me, but I guess that makes me kinda rare. I have an eye appointment this week, it will be interested when I tell the doc I have Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome, instead of just “photic sneezing”

  78. There is supposed to be a cleansing ritual where you look near the sun(but not at) and sneeze until you can be doing it totally relaxed with no reflex to sneeze.

  79. I just found this page and it is very informative. I have always sneezed when I look at the sun or a very bright light. Sometimes, if I feel a sneeze coming on I will look at the sun or a bright light to help it along but what also works is if I look at the bright light or sun, then look away, then look back, then look away and continue this until the sneeze comes out. I usually only ever sneeze twice in succession. None of my friends seem to do this and they too have always thought it weird that I would be affected like this. The only reason I found this site today was because I had just made myself sneeze by looking at a light in my living room. It got me thinking if there was something behind it so I hopped on the internet and found this. It’s nice to know there are others like this out there. I am the only one in my family that has this happen to them. So I don’t know if it is hereditary or not. I will admit that I do love to sneeze EXCEPT when I have a head cold….boy does that really hurt!!!!

  80. Like David @ S Stein & Co. I too cannot complete a sneeze. I am now seeing a pulmonoligist for testing. The doctor perscribed Advir, as a result of serious childhood asmetic-bronchitis. Although he has never heard of this problem, he says he is willing to work with me for answers.

    Sneezing without completing the sneeze results in chest pain. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  81. So there’s a load of sun sneezers out there! I’m one, thought it was genetic cos my mother is. My little sister sneezes whenever she eats chocolate!?! Any link?

    My mate suggested I wear sunglasses to avoid sneezing so much. But then, I just love a good sneeze!

  82. My grandfather first explained sun sneezes to me as a young child. He was also a sun sneezer, as well as my father. I sneeze two to three times every time I come in contact with increasing brightness, ie the sun, light bulb, the white on a computer screen in a dark room, reflection of the sun off of cars or even just a bright blue sky. I love being able to sneeze at will.

    I’ve met two other people not relate who also sun sneeze. How many others do you know?

  83. Trust me, it is the light.

    I’ve been a sun-sneezer all my life. I typically will sneeze 3-5 times when I walk outside – more on a very bright day. My two sons do it as well, but not as much. I am also bothered at the movies if the scene changes suddenly from dark to bright. I may not sneeze, but the “nose tickle” is definitely there. But I can vividly recall the worst episode I ever had, which can only be attributed to light.

    When I was in High School, I took a Saturday course in astronomy, taught at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. On the first day of the course, we got a 1-hour special viewing of what the planetarium’s star projector could do, from the director of the planetarium. At the end of the show, and without warning, he flipped the lights on full (normally they will turn them on gradually). My field of vision went from completely dark, to a fully-illuminated, fully-surrounding white screen. And immediately, my head exploded. I’m sure it did – somebody must have found the pieces later and rebuilt it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Seriously, I sneezed violently about 20 or 30 times, and continued to sneeze off and on for the next 10 minutes or so. People from all of the room were asking if I needed a doctor, but I really couldn’t answer until the episode had passed. By then, nobody recalled that the onset had corresponded with the lights, so I’m not sure they believed my not-very coherent explanation.

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