Note to parents: Smart kids wear sunglasses!

By Gordon Bigler

My wife and I (we met playing tennis at La Jolla Rec Center) are always amazed when we go to the park or pool and look around to find most adults wearing sunglasses and hats, while the kids are not wearing either and are left fully exposed to the sun.

If it were not for a unique opportunity brought into our lives, we also would be unaware of the importance of protecting our children’s eyes from the harsh rays of the sun, beginning at a very young age.

We have three beautiful daughters. Our oldest was born with a rare eye condition known as


  1. This is a condition that affects the eye in several ways, but most apparent is the lack of an iris in the eye.

The iris works to regulate the amount of light that enters the eye and enables one to see in varying degrees of light. In our daughters’ case, both eyes lack an iris and as a result, her eyes are fully dilated at all times.
The best analogy we can think of is when one walks out of the movie theater and into the bright sunlight, it is blinding until our eyes adjust. In our daughters’ case, this is what everyday feels like. Her eyes are unable to adjust in blocking any sunlight and a normal sunny day for most people is blinding for her.

As we’ve become educated about


, how it affects our daughter and our everyday life, we came across a significant amount of scientific data describing the importance of sun eye protection in children. What’s ironic is that it’s even more critical to protect our children’s eyes than our own!

We are passionate about eye sun protection and have integrated sunglasses into our immediate and extended family.

Beginning at birth, all our children have worn sunglasses every time they go outside. Our extended family has also adopted this policy because modeling desired behavior is so important for children when learning what behaviors are expected.

We’d like to share some of the knowledge we’ve accumulated to increase awareness of the importance of protecting children’s eyes.

• Children tend to spend more time outdoors than most adults. It is widely accepted that nearly half of a person’s lifetime exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation takes place by age 18. UV radiation from sunlight is associated with multiple age-related eye problems, including cataracts and macular degeneration.

• Children are more susceptible to retinal damage from UV rays because the lens inside a child’s eye is clearer than an adult lens, enabling more UV to penetrate deep into the eye. In addition to causing eye problems, UV rays can cause skin cancer of the face, including the delicate skin of the eyelids and the area around the eyes.

• Overexposure to UV light can cause a serious and painful “sunburn” of the cornea, medically known as


, which can cause a temporary loss of vision that is commonly called “snow blindness” and growths on the surface of the eye. The more exposure you’ve had to the sun’s harmful UV rays during your lifetime, the more at risk you are for these sight-limiting conditions.

• Be aware that UV radiation penetrates clouds and while on sunny days it’s easy to remember to wear hats and sunglasses, it is just as important on cloudy days. Encourage your kids to wear their sunglasses even on overcast days to protect their eyes.

• For the best UV protection, kids should wear wide-brimmed hats as well as sunglasses when spending a lot of time outdoors on sunny days. Researchers say a hat that shades the eyes and face can cut the amount of UV exposure in half. And don’t forget the sunscreen, too!

• Some countries have actually been quick adopters of eye protection for children. In Australia, the self-described “skin cancer capital of the world,” there is a national campaign “SunSmart” ( that offers best practices for sun protection and dealing with UV rays.

• One comment we hear frequently is “how do you get your kids to keep the glasses on?” The answer is two-fold: start putting glasses on your child as early as you can and find glasses that fit your child’s head and face.

• We’ve found glasses that have a strap work the best for young kids and the brand “Baby Banz” ( has high quality lenses and cool styles that are good for any child up to age 13. They sell swim and ski goggles as well.

• Be leery of children’s sunglasses with labels that say, “blocks UV rays” without specifying the actual percentage of UV radiation the lenses absorb.

Through the years we’ve heard comments when we take our children places while they’re all wearing sunglasses, but most of them are encouraging. We are OK with people thinking we want to “be cool” or that our girls are “Little Miss Hollywood” because we know that we are investing in our children’s health and wellbeing and creating habits that will serve them well in the years to come.

We encourage parents to begin to think about the importance of protecting their children’s eyes and modeling this behavior. A good rule of thumb is that if you want your sunglasses, your child probably does as well. Good luck!

Sand will destroy street in La Jolla Shores

Avenida de la Playa has been opened to provide access to the boat ramp. It is my understanding that sand will corrode cement and concrete. This has presented a problem, as the street is almost totally covered in sand!

The sand is primarily being deposited by businesses transporting kayaks in pick-up vehicles to and from the beach. Action needs to be taken before the sand destroys the street.

Norman Henry

La Jolla Shores

Lasers vs. fireworks? Ridiculous proposal

Last week’s letter regarding the La Jolla fireworks is typical of the muddleheaded logic of PETA animal wackos, as it was full of ridiculous “Chicken Little” scenarios of animal injuries and anything else the author could think of to argue for discontinuing what thousands of people want and enjoy.

And she proposes laser light shows?

Isn’t she worried about blinding a precious pigeon or saintly sea gull? Or causing disorientation in a pelican so it would crash land at Children’s Pool and harpoon a precious pregnant pinniped with his beak in the process?

Oh the humanity!

Dan Truitt

San Diego

Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast is July 19

Once again it is time for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla to invite our neighbors to breakfast — It’s PANCAKE TIME on Saturday, July 19!

Every year the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla organizes three events in our community: La Jolla Half Marathon, La Jolla Junior Olympics and the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast. The club gives the proceeds back to our community in the form of scholarships, grants to schools, support for veterans programs, supplementary funding for the Meals-on-Wheels program, just to name a few. It is through these activities that the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla embraces and acts upon the tenants of community, family and fellowship. All this is made possible by you, our generous neighbors in La Jolla, and we thank you!

n April saw the 33rd running of the

La Jolla Half Marathon

  1. The race has evolved over the last 30 years into the largest annual fundraising event for the Kiwanis Club.
n May 18, the club organized the 23rd annual

La Jolla Junior Olympics

, held at La Jolla High School’s Edwards Field. Children from La Jolla, Bird Rock and Torrey Pines elementary schools, Gillespie School, All Hallows Academy, The Children’s School, San Diego French American School, Stella Maris Academy and The Evans School competed in various track and field events.

n Our 51st annual

Pancake Breakfast

will be held 7:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 19 at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. There will be a live band, face painting, a bounce house and pony rides for the children. And, of course, all the pancakes and sausages you can eat!

Admission is free to ages 10 and younger, all other tickets are $10 at C&H Photo, 7742 Girard Ave., or at the door.

On behalf of the membership of Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, I wish everyone a happy, safe Independence Day, and I encourage you to join the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla in fellowship to serve our community. We are a non-denominational, non-sectarian organization with the mission to serve the children of the world ( We meet at noon Fridays at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, 7155 Draper Ave. If you’d like to attend a meeting, contact club president Craig Bratlien at (858) 945-2280, or e-mail him at

Henry Chiu

La Jolla

Mid-coast trolley needs Nobel parking station

Nearby residents to the planned Nobel Drive station on the Mid-Coast Trolley (“La Jolla Residents Start Petition to Nix Trolley Station” June 26 issue) object to the parking structure. This is the only place nearby on the line where public parking can possibly be built. The next three stops will be locations where public parking is not permitted — VA Hospital and two at UCSD.

As it is, the parking structure design is a compromise. There should be much more parking than 260 spaces. Trolley riders driving from points north to the Old Town station today take up more than that many spaces, and it will be the same situation for Nobel Drive, because it will be the most convenient stop with parking at the north end of the extended line.

They are even asking for the Nobel Drive station to be eliminated from the Mid-Coast plan. That would be a disaster for the La Jolla community. Regardless of what the Nobel Drive station is eventually named, it will be the “La Jolla” station because it will be the closest trolley stop to central La Jolla, the beaches and the Cove.

Visitors to La Jolla, residents and people working in La Jolla who will come and go on the trolley will get on and off at the Nobel Drive station. The La Jolla Community Plan has, since it was written over a decade ago, called for a shuttle bus between the Village and the anticipated north extension of the trolley, and the only logical route for that shuttle is to and from the planned Nobel Drive station.

Unfortunately, the Nobel Drive station layout has the bus stop connection going through a parking lot, past the California Pizza Kitchen and across Nobel Drive. The station needs to be redesigned to provide convenient movement from the trolley to the bus stop, like the plans show for the Tecolote Road, Clairemont Drive and Balboa Avenue stations.

The Mid-Coast Trolley is a $1.7 billion project, and one would think they could find in that enough to buy-out the California Pizza Kitchen — instead of building around it — and put in an adequate parking structure and a bus-to-trolley transfer facility.

Dan Allen

La Jolla

Volunteers tackle litter once a month in UTC

Why would anyone spend a Sunday morning picking litter from their neighborhood streets? It’s a good question because for the past three months People for a Clean University City, a group of citizen volunteers, have elected to do just that.

On Sunday, June 8, 16 UC residents and one volunteer from La Mesa, met at Starbucks, 3202 Governor Drive, to tackle a silent but unsightly problem in UC — litter piling up on our busy streets.

At 7:30 they fanned out across Governor Drive, Regents Road, Genesee Avenue and Nobel Drive to collect over the next 90 minutes about 150 pounds of litter and debris.

At the end of the cleanup several volunteers expressed their reasons for pitching in. “I really enjoy living in UC,” said Kim Morch. “It’s wonderful for walking and biking. Picking up trash once a month seemed like a simple and very worthwhile way to improve the neighborhood. As a bonus, I enjoyed chatting with my daughter as we worked side by side.”

First-time volunteer John Sudul said, “I enjoy the sense of community and get satisfaction from doing my part when time allows, and presently time allows.”

Long-time resident and UCHS girls’ volleyball coach Brooke Chic said, “Our Earth is a beautiful place and needs to be taken care of. I volunteer for the UC cleanup group because I know that when everybody gives a little, it is always for the greater good. I wish everyone took a little more responsibility to enhance and nurture our Earth.”

People for a Clean University City will next meet 7-7:30 a.m. Sunday, July 13, at Starbucks at Governor Drive and Regents Road. We’ll break up into teams of two and three and pick up litter until 9 a.m.

Vince Reardon

University City•

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