Review

Review: Gunnar Optiks computing eyewear

Recently a company has begun offering special glasses, or "digital performance eyewear" to aid people who sit behind a screen all day. Most have either seen these glasses advertised somewhere, or part of a typical "geek" store. While the glasses seem questionable, especially having to blindly put up at least $100, Gunnar Optiks assures you that their product works and customers won't regret their purchase. To say the least, the results were surprising.

Shipment and Boxing:

Quickly after the Sheadog model with the amber lens from the Metallic Collection was purchased, the glasses arrived a good two to five days before they were expected to come. Opening the box, these are packaged in what is reminiscent of Apple's packaging methods. They come in a two part white box, with a flip open top. Slipping the box out of its cover, and then opening the flip top presents the eyewear. In addition to the glasses, a microfiber carrying pouch is provided with the purchase of these glasses which can double as a cleaning rag.

Initial Impressions:

Three elements become apparent once the glasses are put on. Until your eyes adjust, they do play with them for a little bit, there is a slight magnification element to the lens, and computer displays were much less intense. The third item isn't noticeable without glasses, but these lenses work by filtering high energy light, which after placing the glasses on you realize just how offending it was to your eyes. The amber lens tiny offers slight yellowing when wearing, but Gunnar also produces a clear lens specifically for graphic designers or for people who need to see exact colors at all times yet still will function in the same way.

The eyewear is comfortable and light. Picking them up, some might think they are flimsy, due to how light they are. Turns out, they may be light but are very solid. After wearing them for a little while, the weightlessness of the glasses becomes a fantastic asset. If another pair of glasses are owned that use a common frame, comparing the Gunnar to them is like night and day. It didn't take very long at all to adjust to wearing Gunnar's, as they are so light they really don't feel like you are wearing anything. Other glasses may take a few days to adjust to, but for Gunnar's it was a matter of minutes.

Aid to Computing:

Earlier it was mentioned that these have a slight magnification to them. The on-screen text has never been more clear, even if the eyes when un-aided rank in at better than 20/20 vision. Gunnar says that the glasses create more contrast, which is completely valid. This is probably due to a combination of the magnification, but then also the light that is filtered by the lens. Clarity of the text while using these glasses almost rivals the Kindle 3, which has an amazing screen, and would be magical while using Apple's Retina Display.

The added contrast creates an environment that is incredibly easy to read on-screen text in. Going through lines of code is also loads less stressful since suddenly everything is just that much easier to read. 

Overall:

In short, these glasses will be loved. Even if this is a spur-of-the-moment purchase and a little regret is felt afterwards, that feeling quickly disappears as the product is fantastic. For your money, you get an essentially weightless pair of glasses that you very quickly adjust to, increases the contrast and readability of LCD monitors, are comfortable, and perhaps even "sporty."

Of course there does have to be a downside somewhere, going back and forth between work on my monitors and something on the desk such as a paper was semi-problematic. The amber lens tint creates an overall warmer color spectrum, while the world actually tends to be on the cooler side of colors. Objects other than the computer screen may be somewhat more difficult to read simply due to what ends up being perceived as added darkness. Once one get used to this however, it becomes almost a non-issue. 

These glasses are worth the money, were a pleasent surprise, and anyone will be glad they took the plunge and purchased a pair. If you spend all day at a computer and end up with headaches, aching or bloodshot eyes, or just want to buy something nice for yourself then give Gunnar Optiks a try.

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23 Comments

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I don't really see how you'd get headaches from watching a computer display and having good eyesight?

In that case, it sounds like you have a problem with ergonomics that can be aided without purchasing these glasses. Try messing with the contrast on your monitor, ambient light, dpi (or font size in your IDE), etc.

If you have poor vision, on the other hand... But then you need a pair of "real" glasses.

Regardless of whether or not their lenses work well, they do have some pretty cool looking frames. I'm thinking about getting some with my prescription lenses.

Raa said,
I don't see the point in these at all.

I've seen in the gaming community that it let's people play for long periods of time without eye strain or headaches, but I have no experience with them myself.

Trong said,

I've seen in the gaming community that it let's people play for long periods of time without eye strain or headaches, but I have no experience with them myself.
I am on a computer for probably 75% of my normal day and I never have eye strain or headaches, sounds more like a very specific niche item if that is all they do.

ahhell said,
How are $100 indoor "sunglasses" an impulse buy?
Someone must have more money than brains.

Sounds just like something most wanna be geeks would HAVE to have!

ahhell said,
How are $100 indoor "sunglasses" an impulse buy?
Someone must have more money than brains.
Well unless you didn't read the article you know that they are a lot better than sunglasses.

I've got a pair of these I use mainly for gaming but I love them. If you want to spend about 20$ less look up the gaming glasses on BestBuy. They are the same lenses with gaming frames and still work great.

wait...so...do these work with perscriptions? Cause...otherwise...wow they're missing a large chunk of their market unless they're assuming everyone can/already does wear contacts too...

jmc15john said,
Yep, they do prescription glasses. But you have to go into a Gunnar's Rx retailer and they can custom order them for you.

Thanks! Didn't see that. Not sure they're for me, but wouldn't mind something to cut down on eye strain... tempting, in all honesty. But expensive,a nd I'm guessing the RX stuff is more expensive.

fiver_ said,
What about people who dont have 20/20 vision and already wear glasses?
Thats the first thing I thought of... if you already wear glasses then these arent for you?

I tried it at the local Fry's Electronics; I got a headache after using one for around 10 minutes or so. Almost 15 yrs of at least 8-12 hours a day staring at screen(s)..vision is still 20/20.

aniv said,
I tried it at the local Fry's Electronics; I got a headache after using one for around 10 minutes or so. Almost 15 yrs of at least 8-12 hours a day staring at screen(s)..vision is still 20/20.

Have to agree here, I have perfect vision and am sat on a computer from 8am until 5pm, drive home and then sit on a computer, on and off for the remainder of the evening. The only glare I ever find, is generally from bad lighting in a room.