Posted on October 12, 2017 by staff

Former Google worker taking fight to blue light


A former Google employee has begun a business which seeks to combat eye strain and other symptoms linked to over-exposure to blue light.

Eduardo Gaya was working long hours in front of a computer screen at the tech giant’s Dublin base when he began suffering from eye strain, eye pain and headaches.

He researched the issue and learned that he could buy glasses with lenses that either filter out or reflect blue light.

His co-founder at Barner, fellow Spaniard Christopher Birk, told BusinessCloud that Gaya’s relief was immediate when he began wearing the glasses.

“Some of his colleagues at Google had the same symptoms and were using eye drops – but this wasn’t a solution, it was a pain reliever,” he said.

“When people learned of his solution, they also started wearing the glasses. It sparked an idea in his mind.”

Business development manager Birk says Barner is prototyping fashionable eyewear featuring the anti-blue light technology, with a view to selling into both the prescription and non-prescription markets.

“People are not offered blue light-reflecting eyewear when they do not have prescription lenses,” he explained.

“If people don’t use prescription lenses then it seems like it is forbidden to have this technology.

“Some time ago, the lenses were totally yellow and really stood out – but now the technology has advanced and the lenses are clear.

“When the blue light hits them, the lenses yellow a little bit, but not too much.”

The Barcelona-based firm held talks with Carl Zeiss, but the optical manufacturer pulled out as it didn’t want to produce a rival to its own prescription products.

Barner is now working with an international leader in the field of lenses while its frames are handmade in Italy and described as “of the highest quality”.

“We sit in front of computers for six hours at least every day before reading our WhatsApp, social media and the news on the subway. Later we do the same thing at home – and then we start reading,” said Birk.

“This overexposure is creating problems which we are just finding out about now. The study results so far have been short-term and researchers suspect that there are bigger effects in the long-term.

“We intend to approach big companies and offer them this solution for their workforce. Research shows that workers at big tech firms, for example, don’t just look at salary – they want to feel like the company cares about them.

“It’s not even a cost to these companies, it’s an investment: for every euro you spend on the health of your workers, there is a return of three and a half euros. Other studies show similar amounts to this.”

The company is launching a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday 17th October, which it hopes will raise €17,000.

“We’ve been approached by people who want to put money in the project, but we don’t want anyone to break in and start telling us what we need to do and how to do it,” he added.

“Kickstarter is a great place to find people who like the project and are willing to back it.”