Why Do Blue Eyes Sneeze In The Sun?

Why Do Blue Eyes Sneeze In The Sun
Photic sneezing – A photic sneeze results from exposure to a bright light and is the most common manifestation of the photic sneeze reflex. This reflex seems to be caused by a change in light intensity rather than by a specific wavelength of light. A survey conducted by the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that 67% of respondents who identified as photic sneezers were female and 94% were Caucasian.

Do blue eyes make you sneeze in the sun?

Light Eyes and Sneezing – If you have light eyes, you may even find that you are a “sun sneezer”! “Sun sneezing” is a condition that triggers a sneeze when people are exposed to bright lights. It actually affects an estimated 18-35 percent of the population!

How rare is the sun sneeze gene?

Why looking at the sun can make you sneeze The sun makes me sneeze. It’s not like I get fits of uncontrollable sneezes as if I’m allergic to the sunrays. But watch me leave a movie theater at high noon on a cloudless Saturday, and you can bet a large sneeze will explode out of my body within 30 seconds.

  • Since childhood, I thought sun sneezes were a malady that everyone encounters.
  • But a few years ago, I explained to my then-boyfriend and now-husband that I could force a sneeze to happen by staring at the sun.
  • His quizzical look revealed that sun sneezes are not normal.
  • I’m an exception to a rule — but I’m not alone.

My light-induced sneezes are caused by a seemingly harmless disorder called “photic sneeze reflex.” The Greek philosopher referenced the phenomenon during the fourth century B.C., but wasn’t until that scientists first described it in medical literature.

  1. Some researchers have since applied the appropriate acronym ACHOO: Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome.
  2. An estimated 10 to 35 percent of the population has a photic sneeze reflex.
  3. It’s not a disease,” University of California, San Francisco neurologist and human geneticist Louis Ptáček told the NewsHour.

“Some people find it annoying, but some people like it to some extent. They’ll say, ‘It helps me get a sneeze out.'” The disorder is characterized by a sudden outburst of one or multiple sneezes when a dark-adapted person — they’ve been in a darkened space for a while — is suddenly exposed to light.

Sunlight is a trigger, but artificial illumination from light bulbs and camera flashes can also cause sneezes. Additionally, a not-yet-established length of time in a darkened space — called a refractory period — must pass before an individual with photic sneeze reflex will sneeze in light again. As it turns out, an estimated of the population has a photic sneeze reflex.

Because its prevalence is higher in individuals with a family history of the disorder, the handful of scientists who have studied the phenomena suspect a genetic, autosomal dominant — a person needs only one parent with the condition to inherit it. Ask your parents about ACHOO Why Do Blue Eyes Sneeze In The Sun Photic sneeze reflex is a relatively harmless disorder that causes people to sneeze in bright light after being in a dark space. Photo by Cultura/Seb Oliver/Getty Images A regular sneeze is a violent preemptive strike. It is a reflex meant to protect the nasal passages and lungs from infectious agents or irritants.

  1. An estimated can spew out of the human body — at a rate 85 percent the speed of sound — each time we sneeze.
  2. How delightful.
  3. When we sneeze, there is a huge contraction of the diaphragm all at once,” Ptáček said.
  4. Dust or black pepper particles in the nose, for example, irritate the mucosa and leads to a sneeze reflex to prevent you being hurt by a noxious environment.” But why did evolution decide for some of us to sneeze when accosted by bright light? Is it a forceful warning to keep my pale, Scottish skin from the sun’s burning rays? (Answer: Likely, no.) The most prevalent theory postulates that neurological signals are crossed between the trigeminal nerve, which senses facial sensations like an itchy nose, and the optic nerve, which constricts the eye’s pupils when light penetrates the retina.
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But large, in-depth studies on this or other theories are lacking, with most photic sneeze reflex research based on small case studies of single families or small groups of photic sneezers. For example, in 2010, a Swiss study found greater stimulation of the primary and secondary visual cortex — regions of the brain that processes visual information — of 10 photic sneezers when exposed to various wavelengths of light compared to those who do not have the reflex. Why Do Blue Eyes Sneeze In The Sun Taking a closer look at photic sneeze reflex could reveal important insights on other diseases. Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters Ptáček studies the genetics behind episodic disorders like migraine headaches and epilepsy. His lab has collected on photic sneeze reflex for years but has lacked funding to analyze the information in depth.

  1. He believes a dearth of money is to blame for few exhaustive studies.
  2. It’s hard to get funding because reviewers don’t think of it as a problem,” he said.
  3. Instead, money goes to research on diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.” “If we knew one or more genes that cause photic sneeze reflex, I don’t doubt that that might teach us fundamental things about reflex disorders like epilepsy.” In most cases, sneezes summoned by sudden changes in light are relatively harmless.

But the triple threat of bright light-induced temporary blindness, an induced sneeze and subsequent eyelid closure could be threatening under special circumstances. Case studies suggest, baseball outfielders and may be adversely impacted. From personal experience, I can attest that sneezing after driving out of a dark tunnel at 60 miles an hour can be — at least temporarily — frightening.

Are people with blue eyes more sensitive to light?

Why Are Blue Eyes More Sensitive To Light? Did you know that blue eyes don’t contain any blue pigment? They appear blue due to how the light reacts with the structures of the iris. In fact, the top layer of a blue iris doesn’t contain any pigment at all.

Why does the sun hurt my blue eyes?

Light Sensitivity of Light-Colored Eyes – When light passes through the iris’ stroma, it does so more quickly when the color of the iris is blue or green eyes. The light then reflects off the layer of darker cells behind it and absorbs longer wavelengths of light.

Is ACHOO rare?

The photic sneeze reflex, or ACHOO syndrome, is a genetic trait which causes people to sneeze when exposed to bright light. It affects about 17–35% of the world’s population and poses very little risk to your health.

What is the ACHOO syndrome?

Characteristics – Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helioopthalmic Outburst (ACHOO) Syndrome is characterized by uncontrollable sneezing in response to the sudden exposure to bright light, typically intense sunlight ( 1 ). This type of sneezing is also known as photic sneezing.

About one in four individuals who already have a prickling sensation in their nose will sneeze in response to sunlight, but “pure” photic sneezing is far less common ( 2 ). Sneezing is usually triggered by contact with infectious agents or after inhaling irritants, but the cause of photic sneezing is not fully understood.

It may involve an over-excitability of the visual cortex in response to light, leading to a stronger activation of the secondary somatosensory areas ( 3 ).

How do you spell ACHOO as in sneeze?

Achoo is used, especially in writing, to represent the sound that you make when you sneeze.

What eye Colour has the best eyesight?

Those with darker colored eyes experience less visual discomfort in bright, sunny conditions. Also, darker irises reflect less light within the eye, reducing susceptibility to glare and improving contrast discernment—so people with darker eyes may have better vision in high-glare situations, such as driving at night.

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What eye color is worse in the sun?

Eye Color Matters – Lighter-colored eyes have less pigment to protect against sun damage and UV radiation compared to darker-colored eyes. This means that people with green, hazel, or blue eyes are more sensitive to light and more susceptible to UV damage.

Do blue eyes react differently to the sun?

Do you have blue eyes? Do you find that you squint or tear up in the bright sun? Are blue eyes more sensitive to the sun? The short answer to the question is yes. Light-colored eyes, including blue, green, and gray, are more reactive to the sun or bright light.

Is it rare to sneeze in the sun?

Our box office services will be limited for the remainder of the month. For the best entry experience, we strongly suggest purchasing your tickets or membership in advance online. Currently logged out. Login Currently logged out. Login Home / Why Does the Sun Make Me Sneeze? For some people, the bright sun can mean big sneezes! Why does the sun make some people sneeze? We turn to PBS for the answer! PHOTIC SNEEZE REFLEX The sensation of sneezing when you see the sun is called the photic sneeze reflex. Photic means “light,” so it literally means the reflex that makes light cause a sneeze.

Some scientists have given it another name – the Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome, or ACHOO for short! Between 10 and 35% of people experience sun sneezing, but the truth is that even scientists aren’t 100% sure what causes this experience. There haven’t been any in-depth studies because sneezing from the sun isn’t a serious medical condition.

Since nobody is at danger from these sneezes, nobody wants to spend money to research it! EARLY THEORIES People have been wondering about the reason behind sun sneezes for thousands of years. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote a collection of Problems that asked the answer to many of life’s small mysteries, and one of them was about sun sneezing! He theorized that the sun’s heat irritated your nose and caused the sneeze.

  • English philosopher Francis Bacon wasn’t entirely convinced by Aristotle’s explanation.
  • Instead, he suggested that the sun’s light made your eyes water, and that water tickled the nose to provoke a sneeze.
  • THE CURRENT THEORY Sneezes are usually caused by something irritating your nose.
  • Whether it’s a tickle from a feather or pollen causing allergies, most sneezes happen when something physically touches your nose or nostrils.

The nerve that controls the senses in your face is called the trigeminal nerve, and it’s located right next to the nerve that’s attached to your eyes. Scientists think that because they’re so close together, bright flashes of light that trigger your optical nerve can accidentally stimulate the trigeminal nerve.

Why do light eyed people sneeze in the sun?

For some people, bright lights mean big sneezes

Have you ever emerged from a matinee movie, squinted into the sudden burst of sunlight and sneezed uncontrollably? Up to a third of the population will answer this question with an emphatic “Yes!” (whereas nearly everyone else scratches their head in confusion). Sneezing as the result of being exposed to a bright light—known as the photic sneeze reflex —is a genetic quirk that is still unexplained by science, even though it has intrigued some of history’s greatest minds. Aristotle mused about why one sneezes more after looking at the sun in The Book of Problems : “Why does the heat of the sun provoke sneezing?” He surmised that the heat of the sun on the nose was probably responsible. Some 2,000 years later, in the early 17th century, English philosopher Francis Bacon neatly refuted that idea by stepping into the sun with his eyes closed—the heat was still there, but the sneeze was not (a compact demonstration of the fledgling scientific method). Bacon’s best guess was that the sun’s light made the eyes water, and then that moisture (“braine humour,” literally) seeped into and irritated the nose. Humours aside, Bacon’s moisture hypothesis seemed quite reasonable until our modern understanding of physiology made it clear that the sneeze happens too quickly after light exposure to be the result of the comparatively sluggish tear ducts. So neurology steps in: Most experts now agree that crossed wires in the brain are probably responsible for the photic sneeze reflex. A sneeze is usually triggered by an irritation in the nose, which is sensed by the trigeminal nerve, a cranial nerve responsible for facial sensation and motor control. This nerve is in close proximity to the optic nerve, which senses, for example, a sudden flood of light entering the retina. As the optic nerve fires to signal the brain to constrict the pupils, the theory goes, some of the electrical signal is sensed by the trigeminal nerve and mistaken by the brain as an irritant in the nose. Hence, a sneeze. But because this harmless (albeit potentially embarrassing) phenomenon doesn’t seem to be linked with any other medical condition, scientific study of the subject has been scarce. Research has done little more than document its existence and attempt to gauge its prevalence. No rigorous studies exist, but informal surveys peg 10 to 35 percent of the population as photic sneezers. A study in the 1960s showed that the trait is autosomal-dominant—the gene is neither on the X nor Y chromosome and only one copy of the gene has to be present for the trait to be expressed—so if one parent sneezes when they look at a bright light, about half of his or her children will, too. The genetic culprit remains unidentified, but scientists are starting to take an interest in trying to find out. “I think it’s worth doing,” says Louis Ptácek, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Ptácek studies episodic disorders such as epilepsy and migraine headaches, and he believes that investigating the photic sneeze reflex could shed light on their related neurology. Epileptic seizures are sometimes triggered by flashing lights and migraine headaches are often accompanied by photophobia. “If we could find a gene that causes photic sneezing, we could study that gene and we might learn something about the visual pathway and some of these other reflex phenomena,” Ptácek says. But until he and his colleagues find the right families for their study, the photic sneeze reflex will remain something of a genetic novelty act, like the ability to roll your tongue. Although a 1993 paper in the journal Military Medicine raised concerns that light-induced sneezing might endanger fighter pilots, for whom a split second of lost vision could be lethal in certain situations, such fear was largely put to rest when a small study found that wearing sunglasses eliminated the effect. Beyond that blip of gravitas, papers published about photic sneezing have largely leaned toward the whimsical end of the spectrum. Consider one 1978 publication that took advantage of the then-raging acronym fad and suggested an alternate name for the photic sneeze reflex: Autosomal-dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome, or, of course, ACHOO.