As with most health trends of late – CBD, juice cleanses, apple cider vinegar – one could be forgiven for growing sceptical when it comes to hearing the phrase 'the next big thing'.
But, most will admit that our screen-heavy lifestyle (particularly in lockdown) plays havoc with our heads, minds and eyesight.
These days, it's common practice to spend your day centred around fluorescent lighting –– only for us to realise that migraines, irregular sleeping patterns and red eyes are often cultivated as a result.
A recent survey from the US Vision Council found that almost 60% of American adults feel some kind of symptom of digital eye strain. Since it seems impossible to divorce ourselves from our phones and laptops, wouldn't it be a miracle if we could find something to alleviate any excess stress?
Yes. The Vision Council recommends using glasses with special lenses to reduce symptoms of eye strain.
Heralding the new venture into ophthalmic health is Sapphire Eyewear, a new Irish brand run by optician Seamus Flynn and his wife oncologist Dr Dearbhaile Collins.
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Sapphire Eyewear was born from the couple's honeymoon in Zambia paired with Dearbhaile's eye tiredness from researching cancer treatments online.
Realising it was due to digital eye strain, Seamus got to work on creating anti-blue light protective glasses that were more available, accessible and affordable than the ones currently available on the market.
During the creative process, the couple was shocked to learn that Zambia has only 48 qualified opticians in the whole country, with a population of 16 million people. As a result, the public subsequently finds it increasingly difficult and expensive to access eye testing and suitable prescription eyewear.
This inspired their 'buy one give one' promotion, which provides tailored eyewear for those in dire need.
"Giving back was a major part of setting up the business and our plan is to go out to Zambia in the near future to set up optometry and oncology training clinics," Dearbhaile tells Irish Tatler.
"Our buy one give one donation programme was inspired by our trip where we were shocked to discover that the public find it very difficult and expensive to access eye testing and even getting suitable prescription eyewear.
"We decided that one day we would love to give back and so we now donate a pair of glasses to developing countries like Zambia for every pair of glasses we sell through our charity partners, Mission for Vision."
Pairing health recommendations with style, Sapphire's frames are made from the highest grade cellulose and Italian Mazzuchelli while their lenses use the latest technology for superior optic performance to block blue light and improve contrast.
"People are spending more and more time on digital screens as we saw from our recent survey of Irish smartphone users," Seamus tells us.
"We found that on average we spend 3.5 hours a day looking at our phones and access them on average 55 times a day. This makes it even more important to protect our eyes from the harmful effect of blue light from digital screens."
Active blue light is everywhere—the sun exposes you to more blue light than your screen—and it is proven to disrupt your circadian rhythm. So where blue-light glasses can be helpful is in reducing the exposure to blue light before you go to bed, aiding in a more restful night.
Our attitude is that, unlike CBD or apple cider vinegar, blue light glasses have actually proven rather helpful, so each to their own – even if you are a sceptic.
And if you, like most, get headaches and weird pinching sensations behind your eyes, maybe you should give them a shot too.
To find out more about Sapphire Eyewears frames, science and philanthropic philosophy – you can check out their Instagram here.