Eli5 why, if we feel like we need to sneeze, looking directly into a bright light helps?

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Eli5 why, if we feel like we need to sneeze, looking directly into a bright light helps?

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This is an interesting question because one of the few things that makes me sneeze is walking out into the brightest light of them all, the sun. Would you experience the opposite (i.e., walking out on a sunny day causes you to *not* sneeze?)

Nobody knows the exact mechanism, but this isn’t actually a universal experience. Many people don’t have this response.

Most leading theories relate to the optic nerve. The fact that it is close to most of the nerves in your nose leads scientists to believe that stimulus in the eyes can result in a slight response in those nerves related to the nose as well.

I can’t give you an ELI5 answer, however it’s called [Photic sneeze reflex](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photic_sneeze_reflex).

Personally I think that – to make it ELI5 – the “wires” from the eyes to the brain run next to the “wires” from the nose, and that they have bad shielding, so that when a very strong signal runs through one set of wires, it can leak into the other set of wires.

No definitive reason yet but the closest we’ve come to understand is that since looking directly at the sun for even a brief period can damage your eyes and since sneezing is impossible with your eyes open, the body uses this as a defence mechanism to protect eyes