Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 12:53 pm | Fair 71º



Santa Barbara Parents Focus on Fun, Function in Developing FunK Shades

Candy Hedrick says the sunglasses are designed to encourage kids to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays

FunK Shades owner Candy Hedrick could always get her daughter to wear sunscreen, but sunglasses posed a problem.

Her daughter, Katherine, has a brown birthmark around her eye, which is more susceptible to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The 7-year-old loves to collect things and amassed several pairs of shades but wouldn’t wear them consistently, her mother said.

“She needed to wear her glasses, but I had a tough time getting her to wear them,” Hedrick said. “So we thought of a new way to think about glasses.”

Hedrick first tried sticking stickers on the frames, but they would fall off. Her husband, who has a mechanical engineering background, broke out his tools and started tweaking, Hedrick said. The Santa Barbara parents eventually developed 100 percent UVA/UVB polarized sunglasses that feature interchangeable, collectible and tradeable charms that snap on the frame.

“Your eyes have no natural protection and absorb the UV rays,” Hedrick said. “If you do it over and over again, it can create an optical problem. FunK Shades make it fun for them.”

Excessive exposure to the sun can burn the eye’s surface and lead to cataracts, a small growth in the corner of the eye called pterygium and skin cancer around the eyelids. Undeveloped eyes are far more sensitive than skin to UV rays, according to Dr. Mark Silverberg, who specializes in pediatric ophthalmology. He said FunK Shades are a good balance of fun and function.

“In my practice, and in the medical literature, I see that many eye diseases are linked to chronic, cumulative sun exposure,” he said. “It’s important to be proactive and protect kids’ eyes with sunglasses. Just as we put sunblock on children, sunglasses are an equally important tool. As a pediatric ophthalmologist, parents are always asking how to get their kids to wear sunglasses.”

Several independent retailers in Santa Barbara and Goleta, such as Chicken Little, recently began carrying FunK Shades. The “K” stands for Katherine.

Hedrick said there has been a lot more attention on sunscreen, and this is the next step.

“The goal is to protect children’s eyes from harmful UV rays,” she said. “I wanted my daughter to get excited about sunglasses and create a good habit. She got excited, her friends liked the concept and we went from there.”

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkBiz, @noozhawk and @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of John Sener
John Sener
"I am known for tenacity, diligence, honesty, and sound decision making with the ultimate goal of closing every transaction to the satisfaction of all involved parties."

Full Profile >