Ethylene plays a crucial role throughout the life cycle of plants under optimal and stressful environments. The present study reports the involvement of exogenously sourced ethylene (as ethephon; 2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) in the protection of the photosynthetic activity from glucose (Glu) sensitivity through its influence on the antioxidant system for adaptation of wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) plants under salt stress. Ten-day-old plants were subjected to control and 100 mM NaCl and treated with 200 µl L −1 ethephon on foliage at 20 days after seed sowing individually or in combination with 6% Glu. Plants receiving ethylene exhibited higher growth and photosynthesis through reduced Glu sensitivity in the presence of salt stress. Moreover, ethylene-induced reduced glutathione (GSH) production resulted in increased psbA and psbB expression to protect PSII activity and photosynthesis under salt stress. The use of buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), GSH biosynthesis inhibitor, substantiated the involvement of ethylene-induced GSH in the reversal of Glu-mediated photosynthetic repression in salt-stressed plants. It was suggested that ethylene increased the utilization of Glu under salt stress through its influence on photosynthetic potential and sink strength and reduced the Glu-mediated repression of photosynthesis.