Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Family anger at acid spill

Chemistry class mishap leaves student facing painful recovery

Ryan Edwards has to have drops in his eyes every 30 minutes. Photo / Michael Craig
Ryan Edwards has to have drops in his eyes every 30 minutes. Photo / Michael Craig

A boy, injured when acid splashed in his eye during a science class, will need up to a year to recover.

The entire surface of Ryan Edward's left eye was burned in the chemistry class accident at Glendowie College three weeks ago.

He now has blurred vision and is sensitive to light.

He was not wearing safety goggles.

Ryan, 16, was discharged from Green Lane Hospital eye clinic this week after having treatment 24 hours a day for three weeks.

"My vision is still very blurry but the colours are okay," Ryan told the Herald on Sunday.

"I am also really sensitive to light because the drops make my pupil big."

Doctors say the long term effect is still uncertain. He could need a year to a year to recover, and has to have six different types of drops in his eyes every half hour.

Ryan was carrying a bottle of concentrated hydrochloric acid.

When he went to place it on a table, the stopper came loose and the bottle fell to the floor.

Ryan's mother, Roz Edwards, has complained to the school and said it was the duty-of-care for the teacher to ensure all students were safe and that the school's policy of wearing safety goggles was enforced.

"I was told students were encouraged to wear safety goggles but did not have to if they wore prescription glasses," she said.

"Ryan doesn't wear glasses but I would have thought it would be a requirement for all children to wear safety goggles, even over normal glasses."

Ryan's science partner, an international exchange student, also wasn't wearing goggles. He was not injured but the spilled acid dissolved his socks.

Edwards said she was shaking when she saw the extent of the injury to her son's eye and was upset at what she said was a lack of concern from the school.

She said the deputy principal visited Ryan in hospital only after she complained.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will investigate the accident.

Board of trustees chairman Shane Blake said the school had almost completed an investigation.

"The school will use the results of the internal and ministry investigations to make any required improvements to classroom practices, post-accident response, and school policies and procedures."

- Herald on Sunday

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