What is a photic sneeze reflex?


Quick Answer

A photic sneeze reflex is a sneeze caused by stimuli unrelated to the nose. The reflex is triggered by exposure to bright light, injections into the eye and eating large meals or spicy foods.

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Full Answer

According to Scientific American, estimates show that 10 to 35 percent of people sneeze when exposed to sudden bright light. Two less common types of photic sneeze reflexes are referred to as "snatiation," which triggers sneezing after consuming large meals or experiencing gustatory rhinitis, a condition caused by spicy foods. While photic sneezes are generally harmless, a sneeze in response to an eye injection poses serious risks during ocular surgeries.

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