Photic sneeze reflex: Another variant of the trigeminocardiac reflex?

Tumul Chowdhury, Zohara Sternberg, Eugene Golanov, Riccardo Gelpi, Thomas Rosemann, Bernhard J. Schaller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The photic sneeze reflex (PSR) is a condition of uncontrollable sneezing episodes in response to bright light. This reflex often manifests as a mild phenomenon but may cause devastating consequences in some situations (aeroplane pilots, car drivers, etc.). Its exact mechanism is poorly understood. Interestingly, the roles of the fifth and tenth cranial nerves, brainstem nuclei and inciting patterns closely mimic a well-known brainstem reflex, known as the trigeminocardiac reflex (TCR). In this critical review, we hypothesize that the PSR can be a variant of the TCR. This concept will lead to a better understanding of the PSR and sharpens the TCR characteristics and open the doors for new research possibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberFNL32
JournalFuture Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • autonomic reflex
  • brainstem reflex
  • photic sneeze reflex
  • trigeminal nerve
  • trigeminocardiac reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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