Recently I “bumped” into the sunning eyes exercise as a way of reducing light sensitivity. It is another of the Dr. Bates’ exercises that (a priori) makes a lot of sense.

When is the sunning eyes exercise needed

Light sensitivity may also be caused by your pupils’ loss of the ability to fully contract in the presence of bright light. The weakening of the pupils’ muscles may be the result of how we lead our lives nowadays. Many of us spend much of our time indoors and we are rarely exposed to the brightness of a sunny day. Moreover, when we are out in the Sun, we like to wear sunglasses. In so doing we fail to give our pupils a chance for a good workout (this means that we should use suglasses as little as possible – exceptions might be the occasions when there is a lot of glare, e.g. driving, near water activities, in the snow, desert). The sunning eyes exercise helps strengthen the muscles that enlarge and contract our pupil.

The sunning eyes exercises described

If you wear lenses or glasses you should remove them. Close your eyes, face the Sun (standing, sitting or lying down) and slowly move your face left and right such that at the extremes your face is turned away from the Sun. (You may also turn your upper body if your neck is not flexible enough.)

sunning eyes exercise - palmingAfter doing this slowly for a minute or two, you turn away from the Sun, rub your hands against each other (to warm them) and cover your eyes (this is called palming – see picture on the right). After palming for a minute or so you may repeat the sunning eyes exercise again, or you can do it once again at another time during the day.


If you would like, you may view a demonstration of the sunning eyes exercises, for example here (3 minutes) or here  (12 minutes). The videos also show what may be an alternative light source on cloudy days.

The effectiveness of the sunning eyes exercise in reducing light sensitivity

I have just started doing the sunning eyes exercise. Already during the first attempt I noticed that slowly my eyes were becoming more comfortable with bright light. However, I am not yet sure whether this will increase my tolerance for glare (the contrasts between bright and dark areas in my field of vision).

I am very interested in finding out if you’ve tried the sunning eyes exercise? I would love to read about your experience! Particularly, let us know whether you think the sunning eyes exercise worked for you! Do leave a reply or participate in the two polls below. I (and other people interested in the sunning eyes exercise) will appreciate it!