By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Designed to reduce eyestrain and other problems associated with computer vision syndrome (CVS), Gunnar Optiks' "digital performance eyewear" are being billed by the company as a sensible add-on purchase.
Joe Croft, the company's co-founder, and optometrist Dr. Jeffrey Anshel sat down with TWICE last week to talk about the eyewear, along with Jenny Michelsen, Gunnar's other co-founder.
"This is a brand new distribution channel for the eyewear industry … and a brand new category for the tech retailers," said Croft.
The glasses, which are offered in 15 different styles ranging in price from $99 to $189, ease or completely negate the effects associated with CVS and digital eye fatigue (DEF). Symptoms of CVS and DEF include blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes, double vision and light sensitivity, among others.
And, as Anshel pointed out, these symptoms are not limited to computer-screen viewers. They can be felt by users of iPhones, PDAs, PlayStation Portables, etc. As such, the company's glasses are engineered for use with all "digital screens." Anshel said CVS is even more common in office workers than carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to the company, users will notice sharper, clearer vision while wearing the glasses, along with increased productivity and improved performance because they will be able to work longer throughout the day with eyes that are more relaxed.
The glasses are currently offered online through the company's Web site and through Amazon.com. Croft said Gunnar is in talks with several CE retailers about selling them, although he would not give specifics. He did say that both online and brick-and-mortar CE retailers are being targeted.
"We definitely would like to represent a brand new category for [a company like] Best Buy," said Croft. "It's an add-on purchase. Every single person who walks into a brick-and-mortar store can walk out with these. Every single person has interaction with a digital screen."
Croft said they would like to get into wireless retailers as well.
A second line of eyewear, aimed at gamers, is scheduled to be introduced in the second half of 2009. Although the lenses are expected to remain the same as those offered in the current line, changes will be made to the frames to appeal to gamers who view the glasses "as a piece of eye equipment," said Croft.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.