Why does bright light or looking toward (no, not directly at) the sun cause you

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  1. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
    DzyMsLizzyposted 6 years ago

    Why does bright light or looking toward (no, not directly at) the sun cause you to sneeze?

    Or, if you feel a sneeze coming on, and it feels "stuck," you can bring it on by looking at a light, or even just upwards toward the ceiling or sky.  What gives, here?

  2. BigSeanR profile image82
    BigSeanRposted 6 years ago

    I'd like to know the answer to this too, as happens to me almost daily. It's worse when I am in a building and walk out into bright sunlight.

  3. Btryon86 profile image90
    Btryon86posted 6 years ago

    While there is no definitive scientific answer at this point, experts believe that a sudden flood of light entering the retinas of the eyes can cause sneezes due to the close proximity of the optic nerve to the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve manages facial sensations such as sneezing, so when the optic nerve sends signals to the brain to constrict the pupils in the presence of light, the trigeminal nerve may sense this signal due to its close proximity and mistake it as a nose irritant, thus making you sneeze.

    1. alian346 profile image70
      alian346posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      So does this explain why I can make myself sneeze by scratching my eyebrow? Is the trigeminal nerve in that area too?

    2. Btryon86 profile image90
      Btryon86posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      This could be the case, yes. The trigeminal nerve is rather large, and handles most facial sensations. The part of the nerve near the eyebrow is called the ophthalmic nerve, so scratching this portion of the nerve may cause you to sneeze

    3. alian346 profile image70
      alian346posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for that information, Btryon86 - I always wondered why I could do that!

    4. Btryon86 profile image90
      Btryon86posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      No problem!

    5. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
      DzyMsLizzyposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      That is a very reasonable-sounding answer.  So, in essence, the same nerve as in (your?) hub about what causes a "brain freeze."  Interesting.  Thank you for a clear explanation.

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