Thursday, January 19, 2012

All eyes on sun sense at Mt Eden Normal

The eyes of year 1 students from Mt Eden Normal will be well protected during the hot summer months.

Ellerslie Eyecare optometrist Jeremy Wong donated a pair of glasses to 140 five-year-olds at the school, which his son Zachary attends.

Mr Wong says a lack of understanding about how the sun can damage the eyes made him decide to give the sunglasses away for free.

"The parents of most children wear sunglasses themselves, but the kids don’t," Mr Wong says.

"But the kids eyes are more sensitive to UV, so that’s why I wanted to give the kids a free pair."

While damage to children’s eyes isn’t immediate, he says protection is vital in their early years to prevent damage later in life.

"An eye damaged by UV can bring on cataracts. It’s a cumulative thing over time."

In previous years, Mr Wong provided sunglasses to schools through a nationwide programme.

But he decided go it alone because the programme supplied the kids with glasses in February rather than at the start of summer.

"If they’re a fun pair of glasses they will wear them," he says.

Five-year-old Zachary says he likes his pair of glasses because they have blue frames, while room 26 classmate India was pleased with her bright pink pair.

"I’m going to wear them at playtime," she says.

Deputy principal Chris Patel is thrilled Mr Wong decided to donate the glasses to the school’s year 1 students.

"It’s a very generous thing. The thing that he gets out of it is a personal buzz.

"It’s a really lovely thing giving more than you take."

Mr Wong hopes to donate the glasses to Mt Eden Normal’s youngest students at the start of every summer.

- © Fairfax NZ News Last updated 14:18 16/12/2008

JASON OXENHAM/Central Leader
SUN SMART: Optometrist Jeremy Wong, with son Zachary on his lap, has donated free sunglasses to year 1 pupils at Mt Eden Normal in time for summer.

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