In honor of the warmer weather, I would like to share with you an interview I did with the Ray Glendrange, an ophthalmologist and founder of BVG Sunglasses.
Please see interview below.
Can you tell me about your company?
BG Valor, Inc, DBA BVG Sunglasses, was conceived as a means to an end. As an ophthalmologist, I know about eye safety. And as an alcoholic, I’ve taken an interest in learning what makes me and those like me do what we do, which led me to pursue Addiction Medicine in parallel with practicing ophthalmology. What medicine has come to know is that those with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) are not bad or weak people, just sick people with a disease who may do bad things in their pursuit of satisfying their cravings for substances. Unfortunately, even though those with Addiction and related Mental Health disorders suffer just as much debilitation and death as those suffering physical ailments, organized medicine knows little about these fields, and insurance funds treatment for these problems even less. To help create a Sea Change such that some day, doctors are JUST AS KNOWLEDGEABLE about the evaluation and treatment of Addiction/Mental Health issues as they are about the physical. But changing medical school curriculums won’t be easy, you need money. So BVGs came from a need to raise funds to effect necessary change.
My partner is a ballistic glass engineer, who made bullet proof glass for the military. So with his experience in protective glass and mine in eye protection, we settled on sunglasses; but not just any sunglasses. The best designed lenses and frames that will compete in the higher end sunglasses market; we’ll not settle for anything less!
How did you become involved with the Veterans of Valor Foundation?
Tom and I are both Veterans, and of all the demographic groups that suffer from untreated Addiction/Mental Health problems, Veterans suffer the most. This stems from their untreated PTSD. And despite the fact we have good treatments for our Veterans, only a small fraction of them get the proper evaluation and treatment they need. So we formed the BVG Veterans of Valor Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax exempt entity, to which profits from the sale of BVGs will flow. Then funds from the foundation will go to a. treat Veterans wherever they are as in many cases access to VA facilities is difficult, and b. fund proper training of new doctors in medical school in the proper evaluation and treatment of these Vets.
What are some issues currently facing our veterans that people may not be aware of?
Veterans suffer mental health (PTSD) and Addiction with secondary homelessness, HIV and suicide at a disproportionately higher rate than the normal population. They fought to guarantee our freedoms, now it’s our turn to guarantee their good health and wellbeing!
How can a purchase of your sunglasses help a veterans?
The majority of profits from the sale of BVG Sunglasses go directly to the BVG Veterans of Valor Foundation.
I know this is might be an odd questions( I don’t wear sunglasses, since I haven’t been able to find a comfortable pair that doesn’t trigger sinus pressure) Why is it important to wear sunglasses?
In addition to improving vision in sunlight, sunglasses make vision more comfortable, and protect your eyes from harmful UltraViolet rays that can further vision threatening diseases of the eyes such as with cataracts and macular degeneration.
What inspires the designs of your glasses?
We have a great creative team who all draw from numerous inspirations for our designs.
Do had a favorite pair?
My personal favorite is the “Susie”, for two reasons. One, I LOVE how they look on women, and second, the Susie was named after a close friend of ours who prematurely died at a young age as the result of her alcoholism. As part of the awareness we raise, we want to sound the alarm about the dangers of harmful substance use, which of course includes alcohol. Men who drink more than 14 drinks per week, and women who drink more than 7 per week are at much higher risk for drinking related diseases as they’re considered to be in the “High Risk Drinking” Category.
What can we expect from your company in the future?
You can expect a new glass lens that may revolutionize the sunglasses market. This in addition to many more great designs, and of course the beginnings of a Sea Change in how we think about and work with those who suffer the ravages of untreated mental health diseases and addiction.
Courtesy Images Provided By: BVG Sunglasses