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Mother blames school after boy is blinded by eclipse By Stewart Payne
Mother blames school after boy is blinded by eclipse By Stewart Payne

Mother blames school after boy is blinded by eclipse By Stewart Payne
(Filed: 09/11/2005)

A boy of 10 was blinded in one eye as he watched the recent partial eclipse of the sun from his school playground.

The parents of Conor Howard expressed their concern yesterday about playground supervision after learning that the damage is permanent.

Conor, who wanted to be a pilot when he left school, is having specialist treatment. He had perfect 20/20 vision but now has severely restricted sight.

Conor was at morning break in the playground of St Nicholas School in Cranleigh, Surrey, last month when a friend shouted for him to look at the eclipse.

Closing one eye, he looked directly at the sun with the other. "I could see that there was a bit out of the bottom of the sun and thought it was cool," said Conor. "I looked at it for about a minute."

After playing football, he looked at the eclipse again and later went blind in his right eye.

Conor's mother, Serena Howard, 32, said: "It was the duty of the school to warn the children of the dangers. They could have changed the break time or kept them indoors."

She said Conor went home complaining that his eyes were misty. Three days later he was struggling to see the largest letters on an optician's test card.

A hospital examination revealed that the eye had been burnt and the damage was permanent. Mrs Howard, who has three other children, said she wanted schools to have to be aware of the dates of eclipses by law.

Catherine Reynolds, the head teacher at St Nicholas, said: "This is an unfortunate incident and our thoughts are with the family.

"I believe the school has continually promoted sun safety. Conor was present in an assembly two weeks earlier when the dangers of the sun were spelled out to children. We shall look to see if any lessons can be learned in the future."

Conor has written to Tony Blair asking for more warnings to be given to young people about looking towards the sun.  

Source: http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/09/nblind09.xml