Felix Gray eyewear is entering the prescription lens market.
The collection features lenses that have blue light filtering technology to protect the eyes from digital eye strain. The company was cofounded by David Roger and Chris Benedict in 2015. Roger serves as the company’s chief executive officer.
According to Roger, the blue-light filtering lenses, which also feature an anti-reflective coating, counter the two key issues for consumers who are on their computer screens — or other digital device — all day long: digital eye strain and glare. While initially meant for people who have 20/20 vision or contact lens wearers, the ceo said the company entered the prescription lens market because of demand from its consumer base. The company has been working on the development of the lenses for the last 10 months, he said.
“We started Felix Gray as the solution for the all-too-many people who deal with symptoms associated with staring at a screen for long periods of time. Because it’s our own lens, it was difficult to move into prescription right away,” Roger said.
In addition to eye strain and possible risk of macular degeneration, Roger said one complication from too much blue light — and even LED lighting — is the suppression of melatonin. Melatonin is needed to regulate one’s sleep cycle. The lenses that Felix Gray uses are clear, instead of the yellow that is prevalent in many of the options in the marketplace, a color that Roger said distorts color perception. And the proprietary lenses also filter the highest energy wavelengths of blue light, those commonly between 400 to 440 nanometers.
The company web site noted that 60 percent of all Americans reported symptoms of dry eyes, headache, eye fatigue and blurred vision, all connected with digital eye strain. That percentage is said to be increasing 7 percent per generation. The site also said that, according to The Vision Council, the average American spends 7.5 hours in front of a digital screen each day, and that the same independent group of optometrists and ophthalmologists said people can suffer eye strain in as little as two hours a day in front of a screen. That’s because human eyes are naturally at rest staring 20 feet away, and viewing a digital device is normally between 18 to 24 inches away, causing ciliary muscles to spasm to adjust to the distance, the Felix Gray site said.
The initial set of Italian, acrylic frame options at launch totaled three, and now number seven. The luxury computer glasses — all are considered unisex frames — start at $95 a pair, with the exception of Kepler, a combination of acrylic and metal components with nose pads that has a starting price point of $125. The frames are named after renowned scientists.
The lenses can be either non-prescription or as readers, with magnification ranging from +1.0 up to +2.5. With the entry into the prescription lens market, consumers can order prescription lenses with their frames starting at $145.
Each frame typically has three color options that can change with the seasons. The company is planning on special limited colorways for select frames for summer, such as in lilac and pink.
Roger said the goal is to have prescription eyewear orders filled within “five to seven days.” The lenses are semi-finished, and then made to the prescription strength in the U.S., he said. Consumers choosing prescription eyewear simply provide a selfie and an upload of the prescription. The selfie will allow the company to use its technology to determine proper fit, Roger said.
As a participant in the Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator program, the company received an initial seed round investment of $40,000 in 2016. Subsequent to the ERA investment, the company has since participated in three seed rounds.