Sungazing is a practice that includes gazing at the Sun for nourishment or as a spiritual practice. Looking into the Sun is dangerous, and can cause solar retinopathy and lead to permanent eye damage or blindness. There is no scientific evidence that sungazing provides health benefits.
Some proponents of sungazing claim increased energy levels and decreased appetite; as with other forms of inedia, this claim is not considered credible due to the lack of scientific studies confirming it.
Sungazing is also part of the Bates method, an alternative therapy intended to improve eyesight. Ophthalmologists do not regard the method as useful; the British Medical Journal reported that "Bates (1920) advocated prolonged sun-gazing as the treatment of myopia, with disastrous results".
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. Solar retinopathy, damage to the eye’s retina due to solar radiation, and blindness to varying degrees and persistence frequently result from sungazing during a solar eclipse. Although vision loss due to this damage is generally reversible, permanent damage and loss of vision have been reported. Most eye care professionals advise patients to avoid looking directly at the sun. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, such as that produced by the sun, is associated with damage to the eye, including pterygium and cataracts.
At least one practitioner continued the practice despite clear evidence of eye damage.
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