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Thread: Why does looking at the Sun make me sneeze ?

  1. #1
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    Why does looking at the Sun make me sneeze ?

    When it is very sunny and i look up at the Sun, very often, it makes me sneeze. Why is this ?

    Also, does anyone else experience this ?
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

  2. #2
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    yes, I get that, and with ordinary bright lights too.

    I don't know exactly, but I reckon it has something to do with one's pupils contracting.

  3. #3
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    It's called the Photic Sneeze Reflex

    I get it, but it is mostly a late winter to early spring phenomenon for me when going outdoors with the sun shining plus a lot of highly reflective snow on the ground. That is, it takes a lot of light to trigger the reflex in me.

  4. #4
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    I have it as well.

    Go to bright sunlight from darkness and I'll get three sneezes.

    My father's got it as well.
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  5. #5
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    It's your body saying "don't do that!".

    ETA: and yes, I get it too. It often helps to get one of those annoying sneezes that abort pre-sneeze three times or more finally going.
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  6. #6
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    Kind of cute trivia, but the condition is also known as Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome (ACHOO Syndrome).
    As above, so below

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    Bless you. That made me laugh out loud
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  8. #8
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    Me too. I'd say it's a little less noticeable as I've become older.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    It's your body saying "don't do that!".

    ETA: and yes, I get it too. It often helps to get one of those annoying sneezes that abort pre-sneeze three times or more finally going.
    It's not looking AT the sun that triggers it, it's getting in a situation where everything visible overloads a dark adapted eye. And there seems to be an absolute limit to it, turning on bright lights in the middle of the night is not enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Kind of cute trivia, but the condition is also known as Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome (ACHOO Syndrome).
    i bet someone at NASA had a hand in making that name..

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    It always seems coldest right at and a little after sunrise. Takes awhile to warm me up.

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    But sunrise isn't a fast enough transition to trigger the response, which, for me, is unrelated to ambient temperature anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    But sunrise isn't a fast enough transition to trigger the response, which, for me, is unrelated to ambient temperature anyway.
    Is it just bright light, or does the position/motion of the head have anything to do with it?
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    For me it will happen when I go from a relatively low-lit inside with eyes adapted to that level and outside into bright sunlight with the sun at an angle where most of the visual field is brightly lit.
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    My experience is similar to Henrik's, but as I wrote earlier, the visual field needs to include a lot of reflective surface too and it's related to time of year.

    I've lived most of my life at around 54 degrees North latitude, so in the depths of winter the sun doesn't rise that high here. But during March at noon it is much higher and we typically still have much snow about, often getting fresh snow overnight followed by a sunny day. I first really started noticing the phenomenon as a teenager, when over successive years I had this sneezing upon leaving the dim halls of the high school at noon to walk home for lunch. But it was only in the late winter and early spring. The pattern remained for many years but I don't experience it as often anymore. Maybe my sensitivity to it has changed, or maybe the light levels in the buildings I exit are generally higher than in the past. Certainly my home is brighter, as was my childhood home (I don't recall it happening when I left that house).

  16. #16
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    As we get older, our pupils don't open as far. That probably has something to do with it.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Yes, that makes sense.

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    Going into a bright light seems to stimulate tear production for me. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

    (Although when something sad happens, I don't go "Boo-hoo, achoo").
    "There are powers in this universe beyond anything you know. There is much you have to learn. Go to your homes. Go and give thought to the mysteries of the universe. I will leave you now, in peace." --Galaxy Being

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luckmeister View Post
    Going into a bright light seems to stimulate tear production for me. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

    (Although when something sad happens, I don't go "Boo-hoo, achoo").
    You went into the light? are you a ghost instead of a walrus?
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  20. #20
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    I'm a sad sneezing walrus ghost.... not a pretty sight.
    "There are powers in this universe beyond anything you know. There is much you have to learn. Go to your homes. Go and give thought to the mysteries of the universe. I will leave you now, in peace." --Galaxy Being

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Is it just bright light, or does the position/motion of the head have anything to do with it?
    I'm with A.P. here. Check and see if mere changes in head position, particularly forward and backwards, will trigger a sneeze. Hold the position for a while, to be fair. Also, do you suffer from allergies? Chronic allergic rhinitus is a pain in the ... nose. And you sneeze so much.

    Regards, John M.

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    "For shame, gentlemen, pack your evidence a little better against another time."
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Mendenhall View Post
    I'm with A.P. here. Check and see if mere changes in head position, particularly forward and backwards, will trigger a sneeze. Hold the position for a while, to be fair. Also, do you suffer from allergies? Chronic allergic rhinitus is a pain in the ... nose. And you sneeze so much.

    Regards, John M.
    Head movements don't trigger sneezes, no allergies, no sneezes at times other than head cold and sharp transition in light intensity.

    Why the hell would anyone expect holding the head in a particular fashion for a while is relevant when that's not what's happening when sneezes happen nearly instantaneous after the transition, if the eyes have time to adapt to the light no sneeze will happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Head movements don't trigger sneezes, no allergies, no sneezes at times other than head cold and sharp transition in light intensity.

    Why the hell would anyone expect holding the head in a particular fashion for a while is relevant when that's not what's happening when sneezes happen nearly instantaneous after the transition, if the eyes have time to adapt to the light no sneeze will happen.
    I don't know, but a lot of people describe the scenario as "when I look up at the sun...", thereby specifying a position/motion.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  25. #25
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    For me it's when I go out into a sunlit area.
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  26. #26
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    I suspect some are thinking the A.C.H.O.O. syndrome was a joke. It's not! I know this thanks to listening to my hero Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who does wonderful science Q&A radio programs in Australia, - it's fair dinkum, and here's a Wiki link...

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    I have this too, as did my Dad and at least two of my brothers. The main trigger is an abrupt increase in lighting, which most commonly happens when going from indoors into the sunlight, but it can happen in other ways. It has nothing to do with head position or age (I've had this since childhood).

    Nick

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    Thinking about it makes me want to sneeze. I don't get it often, though the couple times I do remember sneezing from light I was tilting my head upwards, so maybe it was a different phenomenon.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
    I have this too, as did my Dad and at least two of my brothers. The main trigger is an abrupt increase in lighting, which most commonly happens when going from indoors into the sunlight, but it can happen in other ways. It has nothing to do with head position or age (I've had this since childhood).

    Nick
    Except possibly through the age-related lessened dark adaption which would tend to decrease the frequency of it happening.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Except possibly through the age-related lessened dark adaption which would tend to decrease the frequency of it happening.
    Right. I figure that's why it seldom happens to me any more. Of course you also have to take the relatively sunless area I live in into account!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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