Hey there! My name is Trevor Douglas, founder of Rhythm Optics...and this is my story.
Once upon a time, I were an Arborist by profession. I founded a company that cared for trees and I worked with them everyday, I lived and breathed them... you could say I were very connected to nature. It was my passion to understand their biology, how they function, how they interact with the Sun, and the Earth. I were a "tree whisperer"...and some kind of and an intermediary between trees and people, trying to balance humans wants and expectations (often unrealistic) with the trees needs, which are simply to fit with the laws of nature.
After 15 years of working with trees, I sold that business. I had been selling some Arborist equipment online on the side for a couple of years and decided I wanted to go all in on ecommerce selling tree climbing gear and safety equipment to Arborists.
What I didn't count on was the huge change in my environment... I went from being outdoors in the elements, the sun, the wind, the rain, the heat, and the cold. All while touching trees and connecting with the earth. I traded that for a concrete warehouse, tinted windows, fluorescent lights, air conditioning, wifi, and LOTS of time behind a computer screen... From primal tree climbing ape-man to a modern human! Far from ideal...but I didn't even know it at the time.
What's more, I bought in to the now popular idea that being an entrepreneur doing the "hustle" all hours was cool. No time for time off. Few a few years running I gave myself almost zero downtime. I'd work all day till late, come home for dinner, see the kids to bed, then get back on the computer until I'd crash at somewhere around 12-1am. Sometimes much later... Always pushing to do more.
I had no idea it was slowly killing me.
Then I went through a period of depression... It was shit. Real shit. I always thought I understood it, and intellectually I did, I'd done a lot of self-development work over the years and thought I new enough about human behaviour that it couldn't happen to me. But experiencing it was a whole other thing. It is powerfully debilitating. I were very fortunate to have some methods in the mental toolbox to draw on from some mentors that when combined gave me exactly what I needed to break through it. (If you want to know more about what I did, reach out)
So back to the grind, on I pushed... And pushed. And pushed.
And then BAM! I got hit with a very serious pneumonia and ended up in hospital. This was the sickest i'd ever been. It was 8 weeks of hell and about 10-12 weeks to really recover. My doctor didn't tell me until afterwards just how bad it was...probably a good thing to focus on recovery than what could go wrong. The survival rate of hospitalised pneumonia is scarily low...
This was a massive wake up. I had to get my shit together. It was time to take charge of my health. Around this time, I stumbled across a post a friend shared on facebook about the suicide of Chester Bennington. It was by a guy called Dr Jack Kruse. It was all about light and lifestyle. He spoke about the importance of sunlight, how the eye receives it, the signals it sends to the cells throughout the body. And about how this "rockstar" spend his life working nights, under artificial lights, and how he was famous for wearing sunglasses day and night (because rockstar), preventing natural light from his eyes. I were intrigued. I dove in deep reading Dr Jacks work. It is heavy science, but at the core it made sense to me. The Arborist in me quickly related to how light works in photosynthesis in plants, and it turns out we are not that different! The Chloroplast in a plant cell does a very similar function to the mitochondria in a human cell.
I thought I were really awesome being able to stay "on" till so late working...turns out it wasn't my "grit" but that a screen sending the same signal as though it is solar noon will keep you wired by preventing the release of the sleep hormone Melatonin.
When I realised how light received by the eye can influence our mitochondria, which influence the health, or the disease, of our whole body I knew this was a big deal.
I learned that trying to live as close to nature when it comes to light is hugely important. The 2 big keys to that are:
- Get full spectrum morning am sunlight into the eye.
- Protect the eye from artificial blue spectrum light, especially after the sun goes down.
There is no magic product that can replace the sun, so #1 is up to you to get up and get out there. Get sun in your eyes and on your skin, especially in the AM. And one of the best ways to manage #2 is with blue light blocking glasses to stop the spectrum of artificial blue light from hitting the eyes, especially in the PM.
When I heard all this, I remembered the old school BluBlockers from the early '90s infomercials. I actually had a pair of those! But I wore them like you'd wear sunglasses...that's how they marketed them...sure they made colours pop, but that is not the idea! I looked in to what was around today. There were several out there of various styles... some old ugly industrial looking safety style specs, the kind of thing you'd expect someone to wear while giving you an x-ray, and then some that were kinda stylish. When I looked into them, the lenses were more focused on sleep and didn't block enough of the blue spectrum truly needed to support mitochondrial health and circadian rhythm optimization. I also didn't find any locally here in Australia.
So... that was enough to set me down the path of figuring out how to get a blue light blocking glasses brand up and running, one that could produce stylish designs and offer lens options that really work in the right part of the light spectrum to genuinely help people like me who'd been spending way too much time behind the screens of todays devices.
And so here we are!
Welcome to Rhythm Optics. An eyewear brand from Melbourne, Australia on a mission to make modern humans healthy.