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Man praising the Sun.
Man sungazing.

Sungazing is an unproven practice that includes gazing at the Sun for nourishment or as a spiritual practice.[1] Looking into the Sun is dangerous, and can cause solar retinopathy and lead to permanent eye damage or blindness.[1][2]


Staring at the sun, a practice called sunning by William Horatio Bates, is one of a series of exercises included in his Bates method, a popular alternative therapy developed in the early 20th century to improve eyesight.[3] The British Medical Journal reported in 1967 that "Bates (1920) advocated prolonged sun-gazing as the treatment of myopia, with disastrous results".[4]


The practice of sungazing is dangerous. Looking directly at the Sun for even brief periods of time may cause blindness or severe damage to the eye.[5] Solar retinopathy, damage to the eye’s retina due to solar radiation,[6] and blindness to varying degrees and persistence frequently result from sungazing during a solar eclipse.[2][7] Although vision loss due to this damage is generally reversible,[6] permanent damage and loss of vision have been reported.[8] Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, such as that produced by the sun, is associated with damage to the eye, including pterygium[9] and cataracts.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Liberatore, Paul (2009-09-30). "Mill Valley man's film on people who stare at the sun among featured at festival". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b Stokkermans TJ, Dunbar MT (Oct 1998). "Solar retinopathy in a hospital-based primary care clinic". J Am Optom Assoc 69 (10): 625–36. PMID 9805443. 
  3. ^ Chou, Brian (15 September 2004). "Exposing the Secrets of Fringe Eye Care". Review of Optometry 141 (9). 
  4. ^ Ridgway, A. E. (1967). "Solar retinopathy". BMJ 3 (5559): 212–4. doi:10.1136/bmj.3.5559.212. PMC 1842517. PMID 6028468. 
  5. ^ D van Norren (October 1, 1991). "Photochemical Damage to the Eye". News Physiol Sci 6 (6): 232–234. 1548-9213/91. 
  6. ^ a b Chen JC, Lee LR (November 2004). "Solar retinopathy and associated optical coherence tomography findings" (PDF). Clin Exp Optom. 87 (6): 390–3. doi:10.1111/j.1444-0938.2004.tb03100.x. PMID 15575813. 
  7. ^ Yannuzzi LA, Fisher YL, Krueger A, Slakter J (April 13, 1987). "Solar retinopathy: a photobiological and geophysical analysis". Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc 85: 120–58. PMC 1298770. PMID 3328915. 
  8. ^ Krasniz I, Beiran I, Miller B (1999-11-01). "Retinal lesion due to excessive exposure to sunlight". Harefuah 137 (9): 378–80, 431, 430. PMID 11419039. 
  9. ^ Solomon, A S (2006). "Pterygium". British Journal of Ophthalmology 90 (6): 665–6. doi:10.1136/bjo.2006.091413. PMC 1860212. PMID 16714259. 
  10. ^ Neale, Rachel E.; Purdie, Jennifer L.; Hirst, Lawrence W.; Green, Adèle C. (2003). "Sun Exposure as a Risk Factor for Nuclear Cataract". Epidemiology 14 (6): 707–12. doi:10.1097/01.ede.0000086881.84657.98. PMID 14569187. 

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