Do you find yourself down a sneeze spiral every time you enter daylight from a dimly-lit space like a movie theater? If sunlight makes you go ah-choo, you might have a genetic condition called the ACHOO syndrome!
Why Does Photic Sneeze Occur In Some People?
Photic sneeze reflex is also known as Autosomal Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome (ACHOO).
Individuals with ACHOO begin to sneeze reflexively when exposed to sunlight.
Scientists do not have a clear idea of how or why this happens, but they hypothesize that it may be due to the over-excitation of the visual cortex upon light exposure.
The visual cortex is the region of the brain that receives, integrates, and processes visual information relayed from the retinas.
When the visual cortex gets excited, it strongly activates secondary somatosensory areas in the brain, resulting in sneezing.
Do Genes Cause Photic Sneeze?
Research initially suggested that photic sneeze was probably due to a single change in a particular gene, looking at how the trait was passed down through families.
However, over the years, more research has come to light that suggests the involvement of several genetic changes.
One such gene is ZEB2. This gene produces a protein that regulates many important developmental processes, particularly neuronal development.
Did You Know?
Deviated nasal septum (when the nasal wall moves from the original place) can put you at risk for photic sneeze reflex!
Explore Your DNA Raw Data
Curious about your photic sneeze genes? Here’s how you can learn about it in 3 simple steps: