If you’re like me and have worn glasses for most of your adult life, you might not consider the benefit of wearing something other than your prescription lenses.
If you have never worn glasses because your vision is perfect (curse you!) then you also might not consider that wearing glasses for working or playing on the computer might be of benefit.
I recently received this (pictured) rather lovely pair of Gunnar Optiks Sheadog glasses to review and I won’t lie, I had kind of mixed feelings about them initially.
I wear prescription lenses. I’m short-sighted so my distance vision isn’t wonderful. I’m not blind by any means, but if I need to read something on the TV and I’m sitting on the couch, if it’s not an opening title then it’s unlikely I’ll be able to read it without squinting. I sometimes keep my glasses on while I’m working on the computer, but this really isn’t something I’m supposed to do, I’m just lazy.
Glasses that alleviate the strain of the computer screen however? How is this different to buying readers from the pharmacy? Surely it’s just a slight magnification? Well yes. And no. Before we go further, I’m going to let you in on some of the science behind it.
Over exposure to blue light has been linked to age-related macular degeneration
I’m sure you’ve heard about the harmful effects of blue light that emanates from digital devices. It reaches deeper into the eye and in the long term can cause damage to the retina. In certain wavelengths, over exposure to blue light has been linked to age-related macular degeneration and we are exposed to blue light from a number of sources – flourescent lighting, television, computer screens, tablets and cell phones. There are a number of apps available for your phone that tint your screen to minimise this. This is more difficult if you’re using a computer however.
Gunnars are available in 3 different lens colours – Crystalline, Amber and Sun. Apparently all the glasses pre-focus light to relieve eye muscle strain, have an anti-glare coating and the wraparound design retains eye moisture.
The Crystalline range (which is what I’m currently wearing) are designed specifically for people like me – graphic designers, film and video editors and visual artists who require a balance colour spectrum. Colour is all important when it comes to designing stuff for TV, so you need to know that the colours you’re seeing are accurate. The Crystalline lens filters 10% of harmful intensity blue light and 100% of UVA/UVB. The light transmission is tuned for true colour.
Gunnars are more popularly known for their Amber lens range. This tint offers enhancement of contrast and visual performance and minimises screen glare and diminishes the harshest parts of the colour spectrum. It filters 65% of harmful intensity blue light – quite significantly more than it’s Crystalline counterpart. The light transmission is tuned to eliminate blue light.
Lastly the Sun range is quite obviously designed for outdoor use. The lens filters all harmful UVA/UVB rays.
I was a little sceptical when I began wearing them (a reminder I’m reviewing the Crystalline lens), thinking they wouldn’t be much different to my own glasses or the effect of using low magnification readers. I’m thoroughly impressed however! The magnification is slight, but it does make things clearer and I don’t know if it’s the filtering of the blue light or the anti-glare coating on both sides of the lens, but it does make it a little easier to retain focus while I’m working.
They’re also pretty comfortable to wear. There are multiple styles available – and the Intercept style is more in line with what I’m used to in my own glasses – no nose pads and plastic frames. The Sheadog style has nose pads and a flexi metal frame however, and they’re light and comfortable plus the nose pads don’t hurt my nose or leave marks after extended use.
This was a pretty positive experience overall! The glasses are comfortable and I found they did alleviate a lot of the tiredness I feel in my eyes after I’ve been at my computer for hours. I’m primarily a console gamer these days, so my experience was based on using them for video editing and design as opposed to long hours spent playing video games on PC. They’re not super expensive either – retailing on Raru for between R826 – R1321 which if you wear glasses you’ll know is quite reasonable! If you already wear glasses for the computer then by all means stick with those, but you can get Gunnar prescription lenses (locally this is something that is not yet available but the distributor informs me this is something they’re working on). If you are like me and wear prescription lenses for distance then this is a great option to alleviate the additional strain on your eyes at close range. If you’re one of those awful people with perfect vision and you want to ensure your vision doesn’t deteriorate, then you might want to invest in a pair of these if you spend long hours in front of your computer working or playing games. I haven’t tried out the Amber or Sun range, but if they’re anything like the Crystalline, I would highly recommend them.