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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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Sudden light and sneeze: the photic sneeze

Sudden light and sneeze: the photic sneeze

Do you also experience nasal tingling and rapid sneezing when suddenly exposed to strong light?

Well, know that we are not the only ones, as many as 18-35% of the population suffers from it, and it is hereditary!

The name of this disorder is photic reflex or even more specifically Autosomal dominant Compelling HelioOpthalmic Outburst (ACHOO) syndrome.

The causes are not yet well defined but are of central origin as what is known is that light turns on a part of the parasympathetic system, that part of the nervous system responsible for regulating reflex responses and which, involuntarily, leads us to contract eyebrows, dilate pupils and sneeze.

Some scholars hypothesize an interference between the optic nerve (CN II) and trigeminal nerve (CN V), assuming that at a certain point of the neurological path these nerves join together, causing the ocular stimulation brought by sudden light to cause the onset of sneezing.

Even if, as already specified, there are no major studies on the topic and little is known, there is some good news! Each of our bursts of sneezing seems to be followed by a period of immunity of about 24 hours!!!

Finally, if someone, like me, was wondering whether or not there is a remedy for this disorder, it is good to know that the only indications given are management ones:

  • Wear dark glasses

  • Cover your eyes promptly

  • Carry out a perpendicular compression on the depression between the nose and mouth (prolabe)


Valentina Carlile - Osteopath expert in Osteopathy applied to voice and speech disorders since 2002. For information and reservations visit the page Contacts

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