If you watched any of the videos I posted from Macworld|iWorld 2014 or even a recent iMore Show video podcast (all available on our YouTube channel), you might have noticed a peculiar set of eyewear on me. I was testing Gunnar Optiks' new Intercept Colors, glasses especially designed for computer users.
I've known about Gunnars for a few years. The company has risen to prominence partly because of its profile with computer gamers. But the reason they've become popular with a segment of gamers is equally applicable to anyone who uses the computer for long periods: Gunnars are engineered to keep your eyes relaxed in front of the computer, to keep them from drying out, and to enable them to work less hard to focus.
One of the things that makes Gunnars stand out is the amber tint of their standard lens. The amber color filters out blue light. If you work in an environment with harsh florescent lights, popping Gunnars on can really help. I'm not making this up - I have florescent ceiling lights in my office, and wearing Gunnars helps cut down my frequency of tension headaches. (They've also convinced me to get rid of the lights I have in favor of something a bit more full-spectrum, but not everyone has that ability.)
The same principle can be applied to your monitor. Many of us tend to leave our computer displays uncalibrated and manufacturers have a tendency to ship displays calibrated to 6500 degrees Kelvin (what's known in the industry as D65). That tends to have a bluish cast. Gunnar's amber lenses help your eyes compensate for that blue, to reduce fatigue.
If you've ever used f.lux to adjust the color of your computer's display, the principle is the same. It's just that Gunnars are f.lux for your eyes instead of for your computer display.
If you find the amber tint really annoying, Gunnar Optiks makes three different lens colors, including clear, which they recommend for creative professional who obviously need their ability to see colors unimpeded. They're also coated with an antireflective layer to help cut down glare.
Gunnar also claims the shape of their lenses help to keep "drying air currents" away from your eyes, which reduces irritation and therefore leads to less eye fatigue. In fairness, many eyeglasses help to keep your eyes moist. But, as someone who wears reading glasses, I will say in fairness that Gunnars do a better job than my other specs.
On that note - Gunnar Optiks offers its eyewear with prescription lenses. Visit their web site (opens in new tab) for more details.
The particular frames I've worn for the past month are called Intercept Colors. They come in five different designer colors as well as black. I have to tell you that I've never gotten so many compliments on my eyewear in my life. Whether they're being sarcastic is another thing, but people notice them, that's for sure.
Gunnar makes a lot of different frames. So if the oversized hipster frame look in cobalt blue isn't your thing, check out their site for other ideas.
Usually we try to balance our reviews with pros and cons, but my Intercepts Colors are one of those rare products where I'd really have to be reaching to say anything negative about. So I won't.
- The optical tech behind these glasses work
- Available in a variety of designer styles
- Available with prescription lenses
The bottom line
Did these gaming glasses improve my gaming ability? No, but I kinda suck to begin with. What they did improve was how I felt using my computer for long periods. My eyes didn't hurt as much and my head didn't hurt as much. And hearing people say nice things about my glasses helped my ego, too.
- $69 - Buy now
Great for those gamers who play for hours. However the colors do throw PS out the door.
The Gunnars are basically over-the-counter reading glasses with a fancy tint.