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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 20:27 GMT
Eclipse-damaged boy wins support
Conor Howard
Conor's eyesight was damaged after looking at the sun
A boy from Surrey whose eyesight was damaged when he looked at an eclipse of the sun has been told there will be new official warnings as a result.

Conor Howard, 10, from Cranleigh, was partially blinded in one eye after looking at the annular eclipse last October at St Nicolas Primary School.

His parents said the school should have done more to protect his safety.

On Thursday Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Liam Donaldson promised to help prevent it happening again.

Dreams dashed

Conor was playing at breaktime at the school when a fellow pupil spotted the partial eclipse.

He was one of a number of children who watched, unaware of the dangers, but almost immediately noticed that his eyesight had "gone funny".

He was later told that the sun had burnt through his right retina, leaving him unable to see much more than general shapes and movement with the eye.

Conor had also hoped to become an airline pilot when he was older.

Surrey County Council said Conor had been present in an assembly two weeks earlier which had spelt out the dangers of the sun.

Policy rethink

The incident led to a campaign by the youngster's family to highlight the need for specific warnings to schools and the public.

Sir Liam Donaldson has now said there will be a rethink of the government's safety policy.

In a letter to Conor's local MP, the Conservative member for Guildford Anne Milton, he said officials would highlight the dangers of looking at the sun to schoolchildren ahead of future eclipses.

Surrey County Council said in a statement it would fully support any goverment plans to raise awareness of the issue.

The next partial eclipse of the sun is expected in March.

Eclipse 'damages boy's eyesight'
07 Nov 05 |  Southern Counties
Moon's shadow moves across Earth
03 Oct 05 |  Science/Nature
Public get safe view of eclipse
03 Oct 05 |  Leicestershire

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