How much time do you spend staring at a screen - whether it be a TV, computer, phone, or any other number of electronic items? Given that you're staring at one while you read these words probably says it all. But let's just say the majority of your screen time is done at work - which is certainly the case for me - I'm willing to bet you've probably thought about your posture, right? You've probably invested in a standing desk, or an ergonomic chair in the hope to keep back pain away, but what about your eyes? Have you really thought about the implications of staring at a screen for hours on end? The folks over at Ambr Eyewear have.

As explained on their website, "digital eye strain, also referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is the physical discomfort associated with spending long periods of time staring at a digital screen. It has become more recognised as a medical condition as usage of devices emitting artificial light have become increasingly popular and prolonged over the past decade."

They weren't the first company to try and combat this issue - but as explained by the co-founder of the company Dan Nugent, "all the available options were either very low quality or were stylistically awful."

As the most-hated man in music right now recently tweeted, "too much emphasis is put on originality. Feel free to take ideas and update them at your will all great artist take and update," something Ambr have fully embraced. While function should definitely take priority over design when it comes to eye health, why should we have to compromise? Just jump on Ambr's website for two seconds and you'll find a company doing both at an impressive level. And that's why their future looks so bright.

We had the pleasure of quizzing Nugent about the Ambr origin story, as well as where he sees the company going. Check out the full interview below.

***

How did the company get started?

Ambr Eyewear started as a side-hustle between myself and my girlfriend Sacha. We both worked in tech for long period of time and would always complain about feeling pretty shitty after a day at the computer. Stuff like headaches, burning eyes and especially restless sleep were affecting us deeply - and we didn’t think there was a way to cure that. I assumed it would be part and parcel of my chosen career path!

I stumbled across an article that spoke about blue light - a wavelength of light that comes from screens. It totally described the things I was experiencing as a consequence of blue light exposure. That day, I went online bought a cheap pair of blue-blocking glasses to see if they’d do the trick. Within a few days of wearing them, I noticed a huge difference in my comfort levels and sleeping.

There was one big issue though, all the available options were either very low quality or were stylistically awful. The few other brands out there doing these glasses were all using deep orange-tinted lenses that looked like they belonged in a Star Trek scene rather a design studio or workspace.

With a background in design and a background in tech, the two of us set up creating a range of beautifully designed frames in a diverse range of colour. Importantly, we developed lenses that were clear and looked just like regular glasses. We were the first to really marry style and function - and it really took off. We launched this from our couch on a homemade website and within three days, we were sold out with pre-order waiting lists and had mentions all over the media! Maybe we’re best described as the Warby Parker of the computer glasses world!

Ambr Eyewear

Image courtesy of Ambr Eyewear©

How does the design process work for you: specifically the balance between functionality and aesthetic?

Well, we’re still a small business. So designing and releasing new frame styles is a big investment of time and money. Obviously, manufacture requires large quantities, we have to make sure we hit the nail on the head with the styles we do release.

Usually, we’ll scour fashion and style magazines, blogs and websites for ideas on how we could improve the offering. We try and take spectacle and sunglasses trends and transfer them to the computer glasses world. We also take a lot of suggestions from our social media followers. Sometimes, we’ll run a competition on who can suggest the next Ambr Eyewear colour! This has resulted in our two newest colours for our Zenith frames - Cobalt Blue and Champagne Pink.

Sacha is the design guru of the business. We’ll work with our manufacturers to ensure the measurements and sizing is perfect, then work through the prototypes they come up with. Once we’re happy with the result, we will produce en masse.

All our glasses would use the same lens technology for blocking blue light - regardless of whether they’re prescription or non-prescription. So with us, our design resources are poured into the aesthetic.

If one album could sum up the brand, what would it be and why?

Hmmm, that’s a tough question. I suppose it would have to be an album that, on the surface, is catchy and sounds nice on first listen. But, when you delve a little deeper, there’s a lot of technicality and complexity. Something that’s production is heavily influenced by technology but comes out smooth, cool and funky.

Let’s go for Hot Chip’s 2015 album Why Make Sense. Plus Alexis Taylor is a fan of quirky eyewear. There’s a bunch of other ones I could probably think of but this popped into my head first!

Ambr Eyewear

Image courtesy of Ambr Eyewear©

What piece are you most proud of and why?

Since we began, I was desperate to produce a small, rounded frame. This was the shape I would have liked to buy. But, early on, we had a tight budget and had to satisfy other style demands at the beginning. Earlier this year, we released our Lennox frames and I finally got the style I’d always wanted. These were the frames where I had the most creative input, and we always crowdsourced ideas for new colours.

What we got was a beautiful frame that’s become our most popular - and the matte black is my personal favourite.

Lastly, what do you have coming up that you think we should keep a look out for?

We’ll never rest on our laurels and will constantly keep coming up with new innovations, designs and site improvement. There’s four more colours on the way that will be released by the end of the month. We’ve also just launched a range of children’s eyewear so keep an eye out for that.

Further down the line, there’s mutterings of a blue and UV blocking sunglasses range. Maybe in time for next summer.


You can learn more about Ambr Eyewear by heading to ambreyewear.com. They can also be found on Instagram