Shades so cool for school

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 30/08/2014

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Along with pinafores, shirts and shorts, a Cambridge primary school has put optional sunglasses on the uniform list.

It's a move a leading optometrist expects might take off around the country.

There were grins, fist-pumps, poses struck and a few upside-down sunnies when about 30 pairs were handed out to St Peter's Catholic Primary School pupils yesterday.

The initiative started with school parent and registered nurse Breda Plant, who took her idea to the school and then Visique Total Vision in Hamilton. Thanks to the resulting partnership, pupils can wear $9.95 shades.

After months of work, Plant said it was "wonderful" to see the initiative come together.

"It's so satisfying to see it, a small idea snowball really, with great support," she said. "I'm probably a bit biased, but I think all schools should offer it. Why not? It's extra protection."

Hats only stopped about 50 per cent of UV rays and children were more susceptible to damage, she said.

Principal Debra White said the initiative was a "terrific step forward" to add to their summertime no hat, no play rule.

Plant's contact at Visique was the practice manager of Visique Total Vision, Gay Hampton, who was at the launch yesterday.

Association of Optometrists president Andrew Sangster predicted sunglasses would follow the same path as hats. "You may find that in between five to ten years it'll be the majority of schools who have some kind of eye protection in their list."

Hat-wise, he remembered spending his childhood summers with a peeling nose.

"These days children in primary schools, they're not allowed out at lunchtime if they don't have a hat."

Sunnies for kids could decrease their risk of UV-related eye issues later on, but finding affordable options would be essential if the plan were to catch on, he said.

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- Waikato Times

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