Paula Parkes and son Beau are raising awareness about National Sunnies Day after Beau developed a pterygium in his left eye.
Paula Parkes and son Beau are raising awareness about National Sunnies Day after Beau developed a pterygium in his left eye. Rob Williams

Cool shades a sight for sore eyes

IPSWICH boy Beau Parkes is the poster boy for the first National Sunnies Day.

Sixteen-year-old Beau was selected to star in today's events, because he has experienced first-hand the pain and difficulty that eye problems can cause.

The Woodend teen is suffering from a pterygium on his left eye, which has limited his vision, restricted him from playing sport, and regularly causes headaches.

Pterygium is a condition that involves a growth developing over the eye, thought to be caused by exposure to UV light.

Beau's mother Paula Parkes said that he is one of the youngest sufferers.

"It started when Beau was about six-years old, with what everyone thought was a freckle on his eye," Ms Parkes said.

"It actually turned out to be a pterygium, and it started affecting him when he was about 11, and it's continued to grow since.

"It's a fairly common condition, but it normally starts in people around Beau's age now, not in young children."

Beau said his eye problem made leading a normal school life difficult.

"The pterygium grows from exposure to the sun, so I don't play sport any more, but I used to love it," Beau said.

Beau is booked in for an operation to remove his pterygium in two weeks' time.

 

SUNNIES DAY

Today is the inaugural National Sunnies Day, so pop on a pair of sunglasses to help raise awareness about eye protection.

Donations and proceeds from the sale of children's sunglassess will help the Queensland Eye Institute with research, care, and further education in primary schools.



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