Do you have to sneeze when looking into bright sunlight? Involuntary sneezing when being exposed to bright light after adapting to the dark is called the photic sneeze reflex. The syndrome was first described in 1978, and seems to be much more common than has been generally recognized. It is believed to be inherited, but identification of the specific genes involved has not been made yet. If you want to sneeze for science, you can do so at UCSF.