Allie is a Photic Sneezer

Posted: June 2, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in baby, family, health

What is a photic sneeze, you ask?

According to Wikipedia:

Photic sneeze reflex is a genetic autosomal dominant trait, which causes sneezing when exposed suddenly to bright light, possibly many times consecutively.

Well, last night as we were getting ready for bed, Natalie walked into the kitchen while holding Allie.  As soon as the kitchen lights hit Allie’s eyes, she promptly sneezed a few times!  That’s my girl!

On the webpage,, I found an interesting statistic regarding passing photic sneezing on to children:

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.

In my family, photic sneezing is definitely greater than 50% and I have passed it on to 100% of my decendants, evidently.  My paternal grandfather, father and sister are all also photic sneezers.

I guess we have one more sneezer in our ranks!

  1. Martin says:

    Welcome to the club, Allie !

    This reflex does tend to run in families, and mine sounds pretty much like yours – three generations – my grandfather, father, brother and self… so far.

    You probably can notice differences in the intensity of the reflex too : my father and brother, for example, are less likely to have the reflex activated when they come out into strong light than my grandfather was. So I am holding up his tradition !

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