I realized I hadn’t reviewed my Gunnar glasses, and yet I’ve had them for years now. A while back (but not that long ago), I graduated from college. I started working in a brightly lit office with a large bright screen. Contrary to everything I learned from my mother, I sat close to those screens and stared at them. You probably do it too. It’s part of my job and hobbies, I can’t get away from it. I started to notice my eyes felt tired after work, but I couldn’t sleep. I had eye fatigue. The screens in my life, inches from my face, were damaging my eyesight. Then I read about computer glasses. They cut down on glare, improve your eyes’ ability to focus on a screen, provide some slight magnification, and keep moisture on your eyes. There was one brand that really stood out, Gunnar. I bought a pair. It’s tough to do a review of these, as I’ve been using them for years… which I guess is a strong testimonial in itself.
Eye strain comes from a few sources, but the worst is blue light. Our eyes have trouble focusing on that specific color of light. Ever notice how stars are hard to focus on, they seem to have a blurry halo around them? That’s thanks in part to the blue-white light many of them emit. Bright white screens, like the one you’re probably looking at right now, have a bluish hue and can make focusing difficult, causing your eyes to constantly strain to focus. We sit very close to these bright screens. This could be part of the reason more people are becoming nearsighted than ever before. Finally, when you’re staring at a screen, you’re likely blinking less than you normally do. Gunnars look to solve these three issues, and potentially save your vision. They might even help you sleep better.
The first thing you’ll notice about these are the yellow lenses. You can get them with clear lenses if you need perfect color accuracy, but the yellow lenses are much better at helping your eyes focus. This is because the yellow lenses block blue light, making the text on your screen easier to focus on. Softening the bluish tint of your screen not only helps your eyes focus on the screen easier, but it also will help you sleep better. Looking at artificial light immediately before bed, like that from a screen or a TV, may actually disrupt your sleep by reducing your body’s melatonin production. The yellow tint of these glasses help keep your melatonin at natural levels.
These also magnify what you’re looking at, allowing your eyes to relax a little. You wouldn’t normally focus on something that’s within arm’s reach for 8 hours, and these glasses make your screen feel as though it’s a bit further away. Finally, they sit close to your face, which traps some air and prevents air from directly hitting your eyes. This means they hold moisture close to your eyes, so even if you don’t blink much, they won’t dry out as quickly. The sales pitch makes sense, but I wasn’t sure if it would work in practice. Especially the moisture part, that felt like a stretch.
As a software engineer and writer, my eyes were becoming tired every day, and much like the ringing my ears feel after a concert or club, I knew this was a sign of potential damage. I had to do something about it, so I bought Gunnars. The first few days I used them, I found they made my eye fatigue worse. I have 20/20 vision, I wasn’t used to lenses that change the way I see. Things in the distance are perpetually blurry with these glasses and things closer were magnified. I wasn’t used to this. The magnification is really helpful, but you may have a few days of discomfort in the beginning. I emailed Gunnar support, and they told me to just give myself a few days to adjust. They were right, my eye fatigue was gone in two to three days, and it didn’t come back. My suggestion to anyone who buys a pair of these is to only use them in short bursts in the beginning, gradually wearing them longer. You’ll eventually get to the point where you can wear them for 8+ hours a day, as I do. Obviously only wear them when looking at a screen. I use them at work when I’m programming as well as at home, when I’m writing and reading.
I’m wearing one of my pairs of Gunnars while I write this article, I wear a pair at work, and I previously wore them to read on my iPad (before I got the excellent Kindle Paperwhite). Once you start wearing them, you won’t want to go back. I look at this screen without them on and I wonder how any of you get by, staring at a harsh screen all day, without these. With Gunnars, you can actually feel the difference with your eye, not just see the it. Once you realize Gunnars protect your eyes, you won’t want to go back.
Gunnar glasses come in a variety of styles and prices. I personally own the Joule frames, which are $99. There are a variety of styles though, with prices ranging from around $60 to $100. You’ll definitely be able to find a style you like. You can also browse all of Gunnar’s currently produced styles (Amazon has some of their discontinued frames), on Gunnar’s website.