FYIG recently had the chance to chat with GUNNAR Optiks President Scott Sorensen about their recent appearance on Shark Tank. Find out more about the benefits of GUNNAR’s line of products, where the idea for protective lenses for digital eye strain came from, and much more inside!
Tell us a bit about GUNNAR Optiks for those who haven’t heard of your products.
GUNNAR Optiks is the only patented computer eyewear recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision. We design and make lenses and glasses that are created to minimize the stress and strain we put on our eyes and health during our busy digital lifestyles.
How did the idea come about for protective lenses for digital eye strain?
The idea came from one of our founders suffering from digital eye strain himself. He was suffering from terrible headaches, blurry vision and extremely irritated eyes at work. He was a wall street financier and he spent a lot of time looking at multiple computer monitors. He went to the eye doctor to find out what was up with his eyes and it was discovered he had digital eye strain. The doctor made him a prescription with a tiny bit of magnification in it to help him with the eye muscle stress. From here, the idea was born. With the growing digital screen usage and the amount of blue light being consumed on a daily basis, the team began development on an affordable over the counter product that could be purchased and used without a prescription.
What would you say to those that aren’t concerned about the harmful effects of digital eyestrain?
They should be. Digital Eye Strain is reaching epidemic proportions worldwide. The Vision Council of America has reported that nearly 70% of Americans currently experience some form of Digital Eye Strain currently. And, the American Optometric Association believes that Digital Eye Strain is becoming a major public health issue. Digital eye strain is real and it affects more than just your eyes, it can disrupt the whole body. extended computer viewing can cause headaches, blurred vision, eye fatigue, dry eyes, irritated eyes, double vision, vertigo/dizziness, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. The Long-term effects may include retinal damage, Cataracts, macular degeneration. Plus, blue light from screens disrupts melatonin production, which affects sleep schedules and also causes health issues.
How does Gunnar filter out these harmful effects?
GUNNAR glasses and lenses filter out these effects through precision engineered lens technology. Our lenses are perfectly tuned to filter out up to 65% of the harmful artificial blue light that can cause eye stress, disrupted melatonin production, sleep issues, and eye disease. The amber lens tint is formulated to absorb blue light and our lens coatings are designed to reflect blue light and glare away from the eyes. Our focusing power removes muscular stress from the daily grind of staring at a screen for 8 to 10 hours so your eyes feel fresh all day. And, our lens curvature helps hold moisture between the lens and the eyeball to slow down the drying of the eyes.
GUNNAR just came out with the Liquet Lens a few days ago. Tell us about the benefits of this lens.
The Liquet lens is the perfect in-between solution for those who need a balanced color spectrum as well as protection from artificial blue light. Our original Amber lens still offers the most protection from blue light but, we recognized not everyone is comfortable wearing glasses with amber lenses. So we’ve engineered a way to get the best of both worlds. The new Liquet lens blocks 35% of blue light without the tint. We figured that blocking 35% of blue light for those who do not want to wear an amber lens is better than them not wearing anything at all.
How is GUNNAR different from any other manufacturer who would want to put out a similar product?
GUNNAR offers the only complete and most effective solution to preventing digital eye strain, next to not using computers, phone, and tablets completely. We offer precision tuned lens tints to block out the bad blue light that prevents daily muscle strain and long-term health issues like Cataracts, macular degeneration, retina damage depression and more. The lenses also have a focusing power that pre-focuses light and reduces the stress put on eyes muscles when looking at close distance for long periods of time. Our amber lens warms the environment to a more natural one for the eyes and adds contrast to make viewing easier and less stressful. Other products just block minimal blue light.
Where did the idea come from to audition for Shark Tank?
We are big fans of the show and thought that with the backing and support of one of the Sharks we could build the company to grow to the next level. Their celebrity power, reach, and of course, their money would really help us with the resources needed to take the brand to a larger consumer base.
How did you feel about the deal GUNNAR made with “The Queen of QVC”, Lori Greiner?
Lori is great and a great brand ambassador. She has been great to work with and she is a true believer in the product and its benefits.
How do you think this partnership with Lori is going to strengthen the GUNNAR brand?
Lori has great brand insight and offers avenues into new potential consumer markets. We feel like we have a strong foundation in the gaming community but we know our products benefit anyone who looks at a computer for more than 2 hours a day. Lori could be a great partner for a larger mainstream world for us.
What does the future hold for GUNNAR?
We are all about Innovation, Protection, and Technology at GUNNAR Optiks. We are always looking for ways to improve the day-to-day lives of people in this digital era and our product development is focused on that. This month we released a new lens that is almost clear but still blocks 35% of blue light called the Liquet lens. With a Blue-Light protection factor (BPF)™ of 35, it is the perfect compliment to our patented Amber lens that blocks 65% of blue light. We also have a new Work-Play lens coming out in March that is Amber while indoors to block blue light from your digital life and transitions to a sunglass outdoors to protect your eyes from the sun. And, we continue to work on a workable technology integration that is more than a motion tracker. As I said, it is important for us to make things that really improve life.
Tell the readers where to find Gunnar online.
You can shop online for GUNNAR glasses or find a retailer near you at gunnar.com