BY BRIAN MOORE
A WEST Cork-based optician and his wife have come up with a new way to combat the effects of eye strain caused by the over-use computer screens, tablets and other mobile devices.
From his workshop in his garage in Innishannon, Seamus Flynn and his wife Dr Dearbhaile Collins have created and designed Sapphire Eyewear, which incorporate specialised lenses that block the harmful blue light from computers, tablets and smartphones.
‘The idea for Sapphire Eyewear was born from our honeymoon in Zambia,’ Seamus told The Southern Star.
‘Dearbhaile is a consultant oncologist at CUH who spends a lot of time on computers researching cancer treatments. She had been developing eye tiredness and headaches and difficulty sleeping, and it was not until we went on honeymoon and Dearbhaile took a break from her research that her symptoms disappeared.’
Seamus has been working as an optician for nearly 20 years and noticed a huge increase in the number of complaints of digital eyestrain especially in the last five years.
‘This is due to the increasing amount of time we now spend on screens, so I set out to make anti-blue light protective glasses more available, accessible and affordable.’
And so from his lab in his garage, Seamus set about creating a range of stylish eyewear inspired by the latest fashions in Milan and New York.
‘These special lenses block harmful blue light entering the eye, which helps reduce eyestrain, headaches and can improve sleep,’ he said. ‘We source glasses from Europe and Asia and put a lot of time into choosing the designs.’
However, Seamus and Dearbhaile also recognised a need for more eye care in Zambia and have decided to donate glasses to people in need in developing countries.
‘In Zambia, we were shocked to learn that there are only 48 qualified opticians in the whole country, with a population of 16m. So we decided to give back to the people of this incredible country and as part of our new venture we have partnered with Mission for Vision and for every pair of glasses sold, we will donate a pair of glasses to the people that need them.’
Sapphire Eyewear is available online and has customers in 18 countries.
‘We are looking to expand,’ Seamus said. ‘I am currently looking for a larger facility for my lab as the volume of glasses has now surpassed my garage space. And my wife wants her garage back!’