Protecting your pupils is important! Eye disorders are the most common long term health issue experienced by children, in addition to asthma and allergies.

Excessive exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays during childhood can damage you pupils and lead to major eye problems later, with more than half a million Australians having vision loss and eye diseases caused by sun exposure.

The Queensland Eye Institute’s National Sunnies Day is on this Friday 8 November, and is a children focused campaign aimed at raising awareness and funds to eliminate preventable blindness.

With a planned five year roll out across Australian schools, National Sunnies Day has been designed to actively engage primary school students through effective communication, learning and leadership in the subject of science.

In addition to offering educational information and creating awareness of eye care, National Sunnies Day includes a fundraising component, competitions and a new ’Eye Ball Defence’ iPhone game.

All money raised from merchandise sales and fundraising activities for National Sunnies Day will go directly to the Prevent Blindness Foundation to help continue research, education and clinical care being done at the Queensland Eye Institute to prevent blindness and preserve sight.

Did you know?

• A study has shown that children who live their childhood in Brisbane are much more likely to develop pterygium than children who grow up in Melbourne.
• Eye disease and blindness are major problems that remain heavily under treated in Australia.
• Increasing evidence suggests that a significant cause of eye damage is through excessive exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays.
• Most people receive significant sun exposure in their early years.

What needs to be done?

• Educate children from an early age that prevention is better than cure.
• Educate parents as sun protection needs to start before children can initiate their own care.
• Teach primary school students the message – ‘Protect YOUR Pupils’ and to wear not only a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen, but also sunglasses to protect their eyes when playing outside.

On Friday the winners of three National Sunnies Day competitions will be announced in the Queen Street Mall, including the best Youtube clip award for the school who creates the best video supporting the message of healthy eyes and the importance of sunglasses.

The Queensland Eye Institute Eye Ball Defence iPhone game is available via the iTunes app store, Eye Ball Defence is a single player, arcade style, touch controlled iPhone game that aims to provide simple education on eye health, whilst creating a fun and engaging game experience for young players.