I spent the last two weeks of October in bed. For about a month before that, I had been experiencing headaches that no one could explain. I’m one of those guys who never had headaches when growing up, but these became so bad that my primary care doctor sent me to have a CAT scan done.
To make a long story short, a specialist who was looking at my results finally referred me to get my eyes tested. An ophthalmologist asked me a lot of detailed questions about my job, my sleep patterns and even my diet. When I told him how much time I spend in front of digital screens, he ordered a whole series of tests for me.
We found out what the cause was, and unfortunately the problem was even worse than the horrible headaches that were suddenly affecting my life.
The name for all this damage is called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), but phone and tablet screens are equally guilty of ruining our eyes over time and causing a whole list of bad things. We spend amazing numbers of hours in front of electronic device screens these days and the digital eye strain is beginning to have a permanent effect on society.
Have You Heard of Artifical Blue Light?
When a digital screen projects an image, it uses a ton of artificial blue light. This blue light consists of wavelengths between 415 and 495 nanometers. When this light hits the eye, proteins referred to as “opsins” attach to the photons to allow more light particles into the eye. These particles penetrate the eye all the way back to the retina. This can cause long-term damage like cataracts. It has also been linked to sleep disorders.
It’s incredibly hard for our eyes to process light in that specific spectrum and the cumulative digital eye strain after working or gaming for long hours on end can lead to headaches, blurry vision… even sleepless nights. Blue light eye strain messes up your body’s ability to create the necessary levels of melatonin for you to get a healthy night of sleep. Without good sleep, your brain never feels restored and your work or study really suffers,
A recent study by Northwestern University showed that blue light triggers other troubling chemical reactions in the brain. These can affect the body’s metabolism and lead to an insulin resistance. This, in turn, could lead to weight gain and even increase the risk of diabetes.
But what’s even worse is when you might experience when you’ve been staring at these screens for years. It’s believed that excessive blue light exposure and digital eye strain can trigger the start of irreversible conditions like age-related macular degeneration.
Bottom line: We have to cut way back on the artificial blue light that we are consuming.
What are Computer Glasses and Why Do I Need Them?
Let’s face it, most of us don’t control a good bit of the hours that we have to spend in front of the screen. My day job for example, puts me in front of a 24-inch monitor for at least six or seven hours every workday, and sometimes more.
And I don’t have any control over the type of monitor that my company buys for me to use. Even though there are monitors now that limit the amount of artificial blue light you have to stare at, the chances are overwhelming that employees don’t have those.
So then, if you like to go home after a long day and unwind with some hard-core gaming, the potential is there to strain your eyes so badly that you can’t even get a halfway decent sleep. You’ll wake up the next day wondering why you don’t feel rested and your eyes look tired and feel worn out.
Between our work and gaming lifestyles, the majority of us are spending 12 to 16 hours every single day looking at some type of a digital screen. That’s one of the reasons that computer glasses have become so popular.
A study by the vision council found that nearly 70% of American adults experience some form of digital eye strain. Word is getting out about the long-term dangers of digital eyestrain, and some great companies are using the latest technology to help us protect our eyes.
As you can see there are real concerns about the impact of blue light that screens produce. The benefits of reducing the impact blue light can have on your whole life is significant.
The blue light that gaming glasses filter out consists of wavelengths between 415 and 495 nanometers. When this light hits the eye, proteins referred to as “opsins” attach to the photons to allow more light particles into the eye. These particles penetrate the eye all the way back to the retina. This can cause long-term damage like cataracts. It has also been linked to sleep disorders.
Computer Glasses are Even Becoming Stylish
We are also getting more selection and style all the time. When I first learned about the issue, you were mostly limited to gaming glasses with a strong yellow tint that would probably be totally fine to wear when hanging out in your living room, but would look pretty odd to wear all day at work.
But now you can find computer classes that look exactly like normal glasses. Some even have built-in reading magnification and/or the ability to use your regular vision prescription, so that you can use them for everything that you do during the day.
We even found new models that can clip onto your existing glasses! Now you can block harmful blue light even if your current eyeglass prescription is pretty specialized.
In fact, they’re becoming so popular that commercial partnerships are being made. An example is the partnership between MLG, the competitive gaming community, and Gunnar gaming glasses.
Gaming glasses, especially when worn at night, are a huge help in reducing eye strain and preventing future sight problems.
Blue light can cause:
- Age related macular degeneration
- Slower metabolism
- Disrupted melatonin levels
We Spent Many Hours Finding the Best Gaming Glasses
This guide to the best gaming glasses will take you through some of the most popular on the market. We’ve spent hours testing these glasses. We’ve compared their features and benefits and ultimately, their value for money.
What to Look For (and Avoid) When Buying Gaming Glasses
The main things to look and avoid when buying gaming glasses are:
- Get glasses with amber tinted lens as these will reduce the effects of blue light.
- Ensure they have adequate anti-reflective coatings on the lenses to reduce glare.
- Make sure your prescription is available in the style and model of gamer glasses you want.
- DO NOT buy on the style alone. Yes, looking good is important. But make sure your gamer glasses provide you with the level of protection you need.
- A larger price tag doesn’t always mean a better product.
The Best Gaming Glasses: Our Top Recommendations
Best of the Best: Gunnar MLG Phantom
Our Two Left Sticks Top Pick goes to the Gunnar MLG Phantom gaming glasses.
When you unbox these glasses from Gunnar you will notice their sharp design. They look good and they’re functional. The wrap-around shape of the lenses gives you great peripheral vision. The slender size of the frames makes them comfortable and they don’t impair your vision at all.
Initially, I did have some concern that if the glasses were worn for a long period of time they might begin to feel heavy.But, they only weigh 59g (roughly 2oz) and have a good level of adjustment available using the silicone nose pads. As a result, there was little to no irritation at all and after a while, you really do forget that you’re wearing them.
The specific frames tested were the Onyx amber ones in the Gunnar MLG Phantom series. Their light and slender nature concerned me in that they initially appeared to be more fragile than some other gaming glasses I’ve tried. They were actually pretty solid!
In fact, their comfortable, flexible nature meant you could use them with almost any gaming headset quite comfortably. You might find they take some getting used to though.
Gunnar Optiks are one of the leading names in the gaming glasses industry. Any product with their name on it should be great as they all use the same technology that Gunnar Optiks have patented.
They refer to these innovative technologies as:
- FRACTYL lens geometry
- DIAMIX lens material
- IONIK lens tints, and
- i-FI lens coatings
All those fancy names for glasses might sound impressive but I wanted to know what they meant to unreal-life gamers.
Gunnar claim that FRACTYL lens geometry provide the best focus and clarity. By wrapping the lens around the face, it reduces air currents around the eye, preventing from drying out.
This sounds great and would be useful to those people who can’t blink. For the rest of us, this might be a bit of a marketing gimmick that’s meant to sound cool.
Their second claim is that the DIAMIX material used in the lenses creates a clear and distortion free gaming experience. They also claim to be scratch resistant. I found that the lenses were clear and distortion free. But, remember, ‘scratch resistant’ and ‘scratch proof’ aren’t the same thing. If you abuse them, they will scratch like any other glasses.
The Gunnar Optiks IONIK lens tints are the main reason these particular glasses came top of the list of the best gaming glasses. The distinctive Gunnar yellow tint to the lens reduces the amount of blue light that enters your eyes. This is, in my opinion, the whole reason you would buy gaming glasses in the first place.
The fourth element to Gunnar Optiks patented formula is the i-Fi lens coating. This doesn’t mean your gaming glasses will be able to connect to the internet (much to my disappointment). It refers to the hard-coat applied to the lens which prevents scratching. Which as I have already made note of, works fine until the glasses are abused.
Overall, I think these are the best gaming glasses on the market. They offer arguably the best protection against the harmful blue light and they are comfortable.
There is a potential downside though…
For some, they can break the gaming immersions as there is a slight yellow tint to the game. In my opinion though, that’s a price worth paying for fewer headaches and a better all-round gaming experience.
Although priced towards the higher end of the market, the quality is nice and the long-term cost is reasonable – and you do get what you pay for.
The only way Gunnar could make these gaming glasses better is by putting Bluetooth on them.
Because, well, everything is better with Bluetooth!
|MLG Phantom Computer gaming glasses - block blue light, Anti-glare and minimize digital eye strain - Perform better, target objects on screen easier, prevent headaches, sleep better, reduce eye fatigue|
Gunnar Optiks Intercept
These Gunnar Intercept computer gaming glasses zoom in to second place for all the right reasons. They do the job, are very well made, have a great brand name and have a pleasing design. With the thick lens they are up to the task of filtering out the blue light emitted from our gaming screens.
After a few hours of gaming followed by writing this review wearing these glasses my eyes do not feel tired at all. The only reason these gaming glasses are not at the top of the list is because I didn’t like the style of them as much as I did the Phantoms. You could certainly make the argument that this is purely a personal taste issue.
The only downside as far as I can see, trying to remove pure personal taste out of the equation, is that I found it a bit difficult to wear these and wear my headphones at the same time. If you’re a gamer who prefers to wear over the ear or on-ear headphones then you might struggle to get used to this style. You’d be better off going for the Gunnar MLG Phantom series instead.
Spektrum Premium Professional Review
These Spektrum video game glasses ranked a close third for me.
Made with high-quality optic glass, the lenses use modern technologies to filter out a lot of blue light. And unlike the Gunnars they didn’t taint colors of the screen while gaming.
While these glasses do have a slight amber tint they otherwise look just like regular glasses. Therefore, wearing them in public is not as much of an issue if you’re image conscious.
I noticed there was a slight magnification to these glasses which put me off to start with as it takes a bit of time to get used to. That said, after a while of playing some Star Wars Battlefront 2, I got used to the magnified look. In fact, I found the slight magnification made text somewhat clearer and less of a strain to read.
They didn’t make the top pick for this list because I felt they didn’t offer quite as good protection against blue light.
For me, they weren’t as comfortable, as they were a little bit heavier on the face than the Gunnar MLG Phantoms. The magnification got a bit annoying too. But they are cheaper and are less obviously tinted than the Gunnar Glasses.
The Spektrum Premium computer glasses are less gamer glasses and more for general computer use. This makes them our runner-up as they can be used more generally and at a lower price point.
But if you’re a hard core gamer, choose the Gunnars.
|SPEKTRUM - PROSPEK - Premium Computer Glasses - Professional - Regular - Blue Light and Glare Blocking (0.00)|
Special Mention: The Duco Optiks Clip on Gaming Glasses
I’ve included these glasses as they are a good option for those who already wear prescription glasses.
Gunnar Optiks will make custom gaming glasses by using your prescription to craft the lens, but they obviously come with additional cost. If you don’t have that kind of budget, a good alternative are the Duco Optiks Clip-on gaming glasses. They turn your normal prescription glasses into gaming glasses.
As the name suggests they clip on your normal glasses. They’re made of a high-quality plastics and out of the box, they come with a hard case, a cleaning cloth, and an adjustment tool.
They seem to fit well over my regular existing glasses (I wear reading lasses for small print) and flip up and down allowing me to swap between the two lenses easily.
That said, if you flip between gaming and non-gaming regularly, they do smudge. It seemed I was constantly taking them off to clean the smudges off the lenses.
These Duco Clip on Optiks are a good cheaper alternative to getting a custom made prescription gaming glasses. They’re well made, easy to fit as well and offer great protection against the blue light.
After wearing them to play Fortnite Battle Royale for a few hours I had no problems with eye straining at all.
|Duco Optiks Clip on Rimless Ergonomic Advanced Computer Glasses with Amber Tint Lens Oversize 8013|
The Wrap Up
Here’s the bottom line. I just don’t see any way that I can go make a living and come home to enjoy the gaming I love so much without being in front of digital screens for at least 12 hours a day. And I think most of our visitors to the site are facing that same issue.
That really means that the question isn’t whether or not to get computer glasses, but which are the best computer classes to spend our money on. If everybody had the same eye situation, I would just recommend the Gunnar Optiks MLG Phantom glasses and call it a day. Hands down, they are the most effective for the job (in my opinion), and the price is definitely right.
But the real world isn’t that simple. You probably won’t want to wear those glasses at work, and I can’t blame you. The Spektrum Prospek glasses have a total edge there, because you won’t look like a weirdo at the office.
And if you already have a really complex eyeglass prescription, slipping the Duco Optiks on over your every day glasses is the way to go. I wish we didn’t require so many choices, but that’s beyond our control.
What we can control is how we take care of our eyes. Don’t even wait for gaming glasses to be everywhere before you go ahead and get some. For what it’s worth, I do think they’ll be almost required equipment pretty soon, but you can definitely get the jump on a whole bunch of immediate and long-term health issues by starting to wear them now.
If my own experience doesn’t convince you, study up on the research yourself. It scared me worse than I can even explain to think that I had something major going on, but I was really happy to know that the solution turned out to be something so effective and also inexpensive.