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Do Gunnar PC glasses really protect your eyesight? Here's a four-year eyes-on review

I ordered a pair of Gunnar optics (opens in new tab) back in 2013 in hope that shielding my eyes somewhat would help alleviate the problem of dry and tired eyes and blurred vision from heavy computer use. While they were a pricey investment on a hunch and some light research, I'm still using them to this day and swear by them to protect my eyes against the strain.

Using the PC for more than 10 hours each and every day (alongside a smartphone, tablet, console and TV) will certainly take its toll on anyone's vision, but when you need to hop in the car and remain safe behind the wheel I found it important to try something new in reducing the issues that come with prolonged stares at a screen.

Though I have been using the Gunnar glasses, I've also been ensuring that I take 5-minute breaks every 30 minutes to look at something that isn't a few feet away. This is something I'd recommend everyone do, as the different focal points help eyesight to be

Yellow Vision

Gunnar lasses

Known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), this group of eye and health-related issues are caused by exposure to electronic screens. Here's a list of some symptoms you're likely to experience:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Neck Strain
  • Redness in the Eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Eye Strain
  • Dry Eyes
  • Irritated Eyes
  • Double Vision
  • Vertigo/Dizziness
  • Polyopia

Gunnar is the post popular brand when it comes to protective eyewear and the company provides detailed information on its website (opens in new tab) as to how it all works. The lenses actually wrap around both eyes to help limit the amount of dry air affecting your visual senses.

Utilizing custom tint in the lens helps protect the eye from artificial High-Energy Visible (HEV) light. When first using the glasses, I couldn't help but notice the yellow tint that had taken over my vision but grew accustomed to the screen appearing slightly different.

As an added bonus, an anti-reflective coating is present on both the front and the rear of the lens. This is great for reducing glare, allowing my eyes to focus better on productivity.

Thin & Light

Gunnar Glasses

Here are the specifications for Gunnar glasses:

  • Lenses have a high ABBE value of 51 to minimize visual distortion
  • Lenses medium index of refraction (1.51)
  • Amber lenses filter 65% of harmful blue light at 450nm
  • Amber lenses let in good blue light from 465nm to 500nm to promote cognitive and memory function
  • AR coatings reduce glare and reflections
  • Filter 100% of UVA and UVB light
  • Crystalline lens has an 88% blue light transmission
  • Amber lens has a 35% blue light transmission
  • Grey sunglass lens has a 15% light transmission

The pair I ordered were the Gunnar Optiks PPK-00101 from a retailer and was an easy choice due to the lightweight design and styling. I also don't yet require a prescription which made the hunting of an ideal pair that much easier. A month in and I was already sold, Gunnar really has transformed technology for me.

I may be in the group of fans who swear by Gunnars, but it's worth noting that not everyone will see a difference. I passed my pair to a few friends, some who wear prescription glasses, and only a few (mainly those who suffer from CVS symptoms) noticed a difference when wearing the eyewear.

I'd recommend checking where you can try a pair and give them a go to see if they'll be worth the investment. Should you be running out of ideas and need something to help with staring at a screen all day, I would vouch for Gunnar and similar solutions.

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Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

21 Comments
  • This makes no sense. Neck Strain, is because you don't sit properly. Most companies get 150-200$ garbaghe computer monitor to their employees , and therefore doesn't have any height adjustment or anything to have a confortable setup. Many at home have the same thing. Because they all go with "a monitor is a monitor, your not doing professional work, you don't need anything above", which is completly wrong statement. Regardless, glasses won't fix this. Get yourslef a decent chair, sit properly, put boxes or something under your monitor if it's not height enougth, and you'll be good. As for the rest. Everything listed are all linked to monitors ruing PWM to drive the backlight. Meaning that, unless you set the monitor to 100% brightness, the backlight flicker on and off at a rapid rate. This rate is adjusted based on the ilumination level you set your monitor. So lower the brightness, the more flickering is visible to your eyes, as the flickering speed reduces to acheive a dimmer illumination. The problem is that your eyes sees the flicker, but your visual cortex smooth things out. Both result which affects you, causes these issues. Headache due to the extra work to smooth the image, dry eyes because you don't flicker as you try to see properly, etc. This doesn't affect everyone, as not everyone is, what I call, being PWM sensitive. That said, the real fix, is to get a monitor that uses a dimmer circuit (costs more, consumed more power over PWM circuit) to control the back light. Usually premium (but still consumer end) monitors all have dimmer circuit. If I am not mistaken, most Dell UltraSharp series monitor uses a dimmer circuit. How do you know if the monitor uses a PWM or a dimmer circuit? Look at reviews. Good review sites, that knows how to review monitors, cover this. Some monitor do mention that they use a dimmer circuit, they advertsie it "flicker-free". You can also look for that as well. That is the real fix. So instead of buying a **** monitor and stupid glasses, combine the cost together, and get something decent. If you need to wait 1 or 2 weeks more to get some additional savings, then do so. The "premium" over the garbage models is definitly worth it. My recommendation for an entry level display is a: 6-bit per channel (red, green, blue) IPS panel (true 8-bit per channel panel costs a lot, but if you can afford it, awesome!, You'll love the increase color reproduction of the monitor) with dimmer circuit backlight.
  • Gunnar's started out as a solution for gamers. I originally started seeing them worn by pro gamers on twitch because of the reduction in eye fatigue. These are gamers using 1000 dollar chairs, and top level gaming monitors. A great monitor can go a long way to helping with this as you have pointed out, but it is not the entire solution. The main thing gunnar's do is change color perception and reduce screen brightness. They also contain a slight magnification which allows you to maximize what you see through the lens making it easier to look at a screen for longer periods of time. All of your points are correct (if somewhat hostile), but having a fancy screen and ergonomic chair does not completely replace the benefits you could gain from a pair of gunnar's.
  • Re: MBytes,
    Hard to read, but thank you for the information.
  • Sorry, English is my second language. But thank you very much!
  • I purchased my Gunnar Optics glasses in 2011 for the same reasons as Rich did. I can wholehardedly say that i am 100% committed to them to this day. Working 10 hours a day in front of a computer was leaving my eyes significantly dry and fatigued at the end of each day, and I was also frequently getting headaches. Gunners made a huge difference for me. Can't stress this enough. Gunnar's are the real deal and can help substantially for anyone who is getting a lot of eye fatigue from sitting in front of a computer all day and/or gaming for extended periods of time.   Good write up Rich.
  • I use a knock off pair and they help me a lot.
  • I checked the prices in the Indian website and I am actually surprised that they don't cost over a 100USD. The price seems fair In Kenya where I live - prescription lenses with frame can costs upwards of 80USD to 300USD
  • The ones you were looking at are non-prescription. I'm guessing that getting a prescription version runs closer to $300, based on what the lenses for my glasses cost.
  • Just download and install LUX. Easier and cheaper.
  • Can you get these if you wear normal glasses, and what kind of price gap exists if so? I wonder how this compares to gettin prescription sunglasses (which can be had in several different shades) or transition lenses (which I've only ever seen in a grey tint). Also, I really wish this site would stop posting "buy this because we said so" articles where comments aren't allowed. Feels too much like unreliable clickbait. I mention it because Rich seems to have 1-2 such articles every week, and there's no way to post dissention on those articles.
  • They offer a way to get them with prescription lens, via website. Not sure about the price difference though. You can even get them without the yellow tint, but (supposedly) the same benefit of glare reduction and such.
  • Thanks. Helpful article. 🙂
  • I was planing to buy system glasses. There are yellow tinted glasses and clear glasses. I'm a cg artist so for color sensitive works do that yellow glass makes any difference?
  • It will tint the screen yellow, so yes it will make a difference. Best to take them off when doing color work.
  • If you do any computer work where color is vital, you should choose Gunnar's Crystal Clear lens. You can filter their site to show only frames that they sell with these lenses. I use an older pair of Gunnar's they no longer sell called Wi-Five that are yellow tinted and I dont work a day without them. They've made such a huge difference in the reduction of headaches, dry-eye and eye fatigue I used to get working all day without them.
  • the best solution to these issues is to:
    1. make certain that you are sitting comfortable seat with your monitor at eye height (I.e. you can look straight at the center of the screen without adjusting your neck).
    2. get a better monitor and adjust it to the most "natural" picture preset. If possible use the ISF or expert mode.
    3. use any calibration software and adjust the display to the most accurate picture setting possible. Remember accuracy is the key, not user preference as most people have a false assumption that bright and heavily saturated is good. After all, the goal should be to prevent the problem, not to find a way around it.
  • I have a blue light filter layer on my regular glasses, along with transitions.  I believe its only a 20% reduction, but it doesn't have the yellow tint.  It does however, result in purple reflections when you look at the lenses at certain angles but the lenses do not look purple when looking straight through them.  It noticeable when there are reflected glares from say, overhead lights but only at certain angles.  It goes by the brand name Crizal Prevencia.
  • I see the hate and I refute it. I'm a programmer in his 50's and a few years ago started having to wear reading glasses for close-up work. I don't normally need them for computer screens and the array of screens I have around my desk are at different depths. However, in the last year or so, I've noticed as I get tired I benefit from wearing my reading glasses. Apart from close-up I have better than normal vision. Due to reading a useful article 30 years ago, I habitually change focus on a regular basis - whilst I spend hours in front of a monitor I don't stare fixedly at it. I also don't suffer neck strain - I sit on a swiss ball, have my monitors elevated and practice daily Tai Chi and Kung Fu. I am also very conscious of the fact that if I wear my reading glasses for a few hours, I have significantly poorer vision without them. I go from having difficulty focusing on some fine stuff to being completely unable to read. So, I'm paranoid about wearing and relying on the glasses. Last year, my brother mentioned Gunnars and shortly after I was at the Paris game show and able to try a pair on. I am an intense skeptic however, they seemed to make a minor difference at least there and I figured it was worth the gamble. I have never been more grateful for a purchase in my life! I don't wear the Gunnars all day but, for about the last 4-6 hours will put them on and feel my eyes relax - text jumps into focus almost like putting on reading glasses. However, it's just the tint. There's no fixed focal depth the way there is with reading glasses and I don't suffer any problems from wearing the Gunnars, only lower fatigue and gain clearer reading. I have the Desmo model which is totally frameless. As most of the work I do is on mobile I wanted something where looking down and also looking around my array of monitors would not have me looking past a thick frame all the time.
  • Hi, can anyone tell mi if I should buy this glasses just as a precaution? I don't have any problems so far. But don't want to have in the future also. Thank You. ;)
  • I use them and would recomment them as a preventative investment in your future vision health. Blue light wavelenghts can cause damage to you eyes over prolonged periods of time. All screens, tvs, monitors, cellphone etc. emite these damaging wavelengths. If you have the funds and find a frame style you like, go for it.
  • Hi readers, I just noticed that a lot of you have questions and cocerns about pricing for perscription solutions and the cost of these type of glasses in general. At Skreyne Eyewear we offer computer/gaming glasses at a fraction of the cost. Our most popular pair comes in at only $24.99 and includes a hard shell zip-up case and a couple of other extra surprises. We also offer a pair of nearly weightless clip on lenses that you place right onto your current perscription glasses so you can have the same benefits as perscription computer/gaming glasses for only $29.99. Anyone that wants to give Skreyne a try can head over to Skreyne.com right now to check out our products and if you like what you see you can save 10% on your order by using the code "WC10".