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Gunnar Optiks Eyewear Review

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 06:51 — ElektraFi

I don’t recall the first time I heard about Gunnar Optiks (Gunnars for short). I do know that I thought it was a bit trendy and excessive to have special eyewear just for sitting at the computer or in front of your TV playing video games. To say I was skeptical of the product would be an understatement. Professional gamers wore them to look cool and regular people obviously just wore them because they wanted to look cool like the professionals.


A bit of history and some data

Every day I spend a lot of time in front of various PCs, mobile devices, eReaders, and the TV. To illustrate this point further, on average I spend about eleven hours a day between commuting and work. This includes approximately three hours mobile device/eReader time and approximately eight hours in front of my work PC. Then, add that to any gaming or TV time, which could be approximately two to three more hours in the evening. I think you get the idea. As I got older, I noticed that I got headaches more often, especially with all this time in front of electronics. I came home from work with major eye strain and wouldn’t feel like gaming at all. Gaming was my release from everyday stress; an escape if you will. Here I was avoiding one of my favorite hobbies because it wasn’t fun trying to concentrate on the screen with a raging headache. I knew at this point that something had to change.


The magic

As social media exploded, I heard more and more about Gunnar Optiks and not just via the professional gaming circuit. Friends who spent many hours gaming told tales of how wonderful their Gunnars were and how their eyewear actually made them better at FPS games. Ummm, what? Now that’s just going too far. The glasses actually make you a better player? I really had to experience this for myself. So earlier this year, I decided to give the Gunnars a try.

While doing research on the Gunnars, I came across a section on their website where they talked about how the eyewear works and who they target as their consumers.

“You spend most of your waking hours glued to your computer screen, smart phone, tablet or TV monitor. As the hours go by you subject your eyes to harsh, high intensity blue light and glare from your screen. This constant viewing of digital screens can create visual stress, eye fatigue, dry eyes, irritation, and even headaches; leading to an obvious conclusion - staring at a computer for long hours takes its toll on your eyes.”

What’s the magic behind Gunnars? According to their website, Gunnars are “comprised of proprietary lens material in an advanced shape, finished with custom formulated lens tints and coatings, i-AMP lens technology is specifically engineered to reduce digital eye strain.” In regular people talk, Gunnars filter the harsh blue spectrum and make everything you see through them appear in more of an amber hue. If you’d like to learn more about the technical details of how they work, the Gunnars website provides a ton of information. For the sake of this review, I won’t get into all of that but you can see a sample image below that shows the difference between how a movie looks to the naked eye versus wearing Gunnars.



Advanced Gaming Eyewear

The first pair of glasses I received were the Paralex style. Sporting a very hip Xbox green color, the Paralex belongs to Gunnars Advanced Gaming Eyewear line of products.

What did I like about the Paralex? They are specifically designed for narrower faces. Being the woman that I am, I thought this style would fit way better than some manly gaming glasses. The nose pads were very comfortable and the frame was so lightweight that I could barely even tell I was wearing glasses at all. They worked great too. Even when I was tired from a long day at work, I was able to pop these babies on and get a few hours of gaming in with little to no headaches.

However, the Paralex were very uncomfortable on my ears and nose once I wore a gaming headset. I thought this was odd since Gunnars are promoted as gaming eyewear with a specific focus on having room for the headset. According to their website, the “eSPORT collection of advanced gaming eyewear also features interchangeable, headset compatible temples to improve comfort while gaming with GUNNARs and a headset at the same time.”

Since we have multiple people in our household that play games or watch TV at any given time, I really needed something that would be comfortable while wearing a gaming headset. At this point, it was now time for PAX East, so I stopped by the Gunnar Booth there and talked to a few of their reps. I explained the issue I had with the headset and was able to try on a few different pairs to see how they fit while wearing a headset. Their on-site team was top notch and extremely helpful. After trying on various styles, I found a pair that fit really well.

Blast off!


Enter the Rocket. The Rocket belongs to Gunnars Advanced Computer Eyewear line of products.
This line of products focuses more on everyday use versus a gaming focus. Take note of the style differences between the Rocket and the Paralex. The Rocket features more of a traditional glasses style especially on the temple.

As with the Paralex, the frame is very lightweight and the nose pads were comfortable. Even better, they fit extremely well when I wore a headset. I even wore them for the duration of our three hour, post-E3 Thick and Thin webcast with no issues at all.

The Bottom Line

I really like the Rocket eyewear. I have used them for about a month now and find that it’s annoying to play a game without them. They are especially helpful for games that feature dialogue on the screen such as Kingdoms of Amalur. I prefer to read the on screen text faster than the characters speak it. Without the Gunnars on, the text seems slightly blurry from the brightness of the white on the dark background. While I would not necessarily say that I’m a better gamer while wearing Gunnars, I can see why people may feel that way. Your eyes don’t have to work quite as hard to distinguish friend from foe.

One of the most important details to consider when purchasing Gunnars is the size and style of the eyewear. I recommend spending time on their website and following their instructions to get the best fit. As I found with the Paralex, fit and comfort are truly important. Ultimately, I am impressed with Gunnars-from their product quality down to their customer service and even to the quality of information on their website. I now believe in the Gunnar Optiks magic!


Would you like to get your hands on some Gunnars too? We were able to get a special promotion just for the 2old2play Community for the month of July. Check our Exclusive 2o2p Member-only Deals forum for more details.


Grex's picture

I would like to try out the computer ones (seeing as i am sitting in front of one all day), but I need to do rx compatiable. They rx oneshave been difficult to get as not may places carry them. At least by me.

loki619's picture

I too have been trying to find RX versions of the computer ones - i can't use the gaming ones when I in my photography or when I am post processing my images because there is a yellow color cast. The problem with getting RX versions is as Grex said, they are difficult to find as most places do not carry them. The ones that do carry them, carry them for a premium - even if you point out the retail prices on the gunnar website, these carsalesmen, err, optometrists, insist that they need to charge you more because they are prescription Gunnar glasses and they require special techniques to process the plastic that coats the lens of the glasses that are coated with a lens of plastic that... In other words, no one can give me a straight answer on why they charge almost double. I'm not blaming Gunnar - I blame the optometrists. I've heard a lot of great things about Gunnars -  If just one of these guys can give me a valid reason (I'll even take any reason so long as it makes sense) to get the RX gunnars at a premium, I might drink the Kool Aid.

ElektraFi's picture

Wow, that stinks. I always thought you could send Gunnar your RX and they made them. Dr mark-up is teh suk.

midnight917's picture

Unfortunately, there isn't much that GUNNAR can do about the mark-up by optometrists. The added cost of Rx is a combination of the lab lens price (Carl Zeiss) and doctors. When you do decide to go the Rx route, you should get a non-Rx frame from your preferred retailer -, Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, etc and then take to your nearest optometrist to fill the Rx. Make sure that the style is Rx compatible though - most of them are, but some aren't (like the Halogens, RPG). 


We are going to (quietly) test a Rx program via directly, so keep an eye out for that too. ;) 


loki619's picture

The dr's mark up sucks indeed. Thanks for the clarification Midnight! I thought about getting a pair of Gunnars then taking them in to get the RX filled but the optics would not be the same... then again, there are some really cool looing styles that no one has to know that they optics are fake! LOL! Seriously though, I appreciate the clarification as well as the "quietly" testing an RX program bit of info. Let me know if you need someone to quietly test it for you because I can be quiet. See? This is me being quiet... really, really quiet. Quiet as a mouse quiet. So can I test them?   cool That's me wearing my non-Gunnars....

midnight917's picture

Haha...quiet as a mouse...

No problem!  (I work for GUNNAR) so I'm happy to answer any questions. 

In all honesty, we won't be able to make a formal announcement about the direct Rx test so it'll just magically appear in your options one day. What did you mean about "fake optics" though? If you meant to fill the GUNNAR frames with non-Zeiss Rx, unfortunately that's not possible. Our lenses come with our frames. If you decide to get the non-amber Crystalline just make sure it's not the halogens (which is the only one in stock right now until later July/September. 


loki619's picture

I guess I misunderstood your reply and thought that you could have the doctor put in lenses other than GUNNARS. That's where it becomes a bit of a challenge that hopefully your new RX program can tackle. Also, if I'm getting the non-amber lenses, will they affect color definition and acuity? I would hate to have to find out that the colors in my images are off because I'm seeing more of  a color shift than usual. I have some clients that I do images for that are picky with their colors so I have to make sure that they match the color profiles that I use for their work. 

Grex's picture

do you guys have a mailing list?  cause if you do come out with a rx program I would love to try it out.

midnight917's picture

PM me your email! :) 

loki619's picture

Can I PM you my email address as well? I'd like more info on this.

midnight917's picture

Sure! Although as I mentioned, we probably won't be announcing the direct Rx program until we're fully out of the testing phase. 


If you're thinking about getting a pair from our site, be sure to pick it up while the coupon code works - through the end of July (2o2p20).

Gunny's picture

Limits headaches? of my biggest issues right now is getting headaches either during or next morning after a decent gaming session. Might have to ccheck these out.
Doodi's picture

Great review! I've always been on the fence about Gunnar and never paid to much attention to them, but I find myself more and more interested in testing them out.  

My concern was also how they would interact with a head set especially during longer gaming hours.  Do the rockets actually avoide this issue completely or is it just less annoying? 

ElektraFi's picture

Thanks boss! XD

With the Rocket, I barely notice I'm wearing them at all. But that's how they fit for me. Everyone is different. My best suggestion is to try to find them in a local retailer (Best Buy carries them now) and try them on with your headset. If you can't do that, they actually recommend finding your favorite pair of sunglasses and using those as a gauge. Each pair of glasses on their site has the specs listed and they are all different. You could even venture into the Rx eyewear if you're feeling frisky.

TANK's picture

I have a set of their gaming glasses too but I don't use them.  They have a very slight magnification effect that I don't care for.    I think a lot of their claims are marketing hooey but yellow lenses are promoted for all types of things to improve contrast, especially for archery or shooting.


I will say this though, Gunnars are GREAT for night driving!  THat's where i use mine most LoL

Doodi's picture

That's what I've heard as well.  I know that almost all professional shooters (as in real gun users) have used yellow tint glasses for years to improve contrast and accuracy.   I think the issue always comes down to price.  

Then again, high quality range glasses can get up there in cost too.  A quick google search shows range glasses over $200 in price.  In the end it probably comes down to the fashion & brand side of things more than fuctionality.  

This is the same type of thing your going to run into when it comes to over priced Oakleys or Ray Bans.  You pay for the name first. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

TANK's picture

The lense on the gunnars is plastic too, they can call it whatever made up thing they want but bottom line is they're plastic.  Which i think is actually good for long gaming sessions because glass would make them too heavy.  But plastic lenses scratch a lot easier so I keep mine in the box they came in, i don't leave them out.

I think i paid 50 bucks for mine, Frys Electronics was clearning them out because they weren't selling so thought for 50 bucks i'll try them out.

I know some people who use GUnnars at work since they sit in front of a computer all day. 

So i guess even if you don't like them for gaming, between night driving and using them while you work on a computer and maybe even shooting, there's plenty of other ways to get your moneys worth out of them.

Lbsutke's picture

I have the Phenoms that I wear when I am working (I sit in front of dual monitors for hours at a time) and if I am going to be playing a long time. I have to say they have cut down eye strain for me by at least 50%.


I did purchase mine through when they were closing them out or getting rid of inventory cause I got them for around 50 bucks as well.



TKBosss's picture

Do Gunnar or you have a suggestion on recommended distance for use of these?

midnight917's picture

Optimal for computer to TV viewing distances, so 2-10 ft. Let me know if you have other questions! 

TANK's picture

WIth the review and renewed interest, i decided to try mine out again last night.   I fired up a new game I hadn't played before so i wouldn't have to mentally adjust to being used to playing the game looking one way and now it's different.

After 2 hours of playing I felt sick, like some people get when they watch or play FPS games except I don't usually have such problems.  The colors did look more vivid and overall the image quality got abit of an upgrade thru the gunnars but I think the magnification effect is whats the cause of problem for me.



midnight917's picture

When's the last time you went to the eye doctor? Usually people who feel worse after wearing GUNNARS (which isn't often) is because they are in fact in need of a prescription. The slight maginification affects the eyes for people who need Rx because the eyes have been trained to see without the magnification. 

Jett_Fuel's picture

I may have to look into trying these.  After getting Skyrim and then playing that non-stop for hours at at time and then Mass Effect 3 came out and I played that a bunch, I got severe dry eyes, sensitive to light, headaches etc. Eye drops and such were no help. 

I eventually stopped playing and my eyes have gotten better to the point I can play for a few hours w/o my eyes killing me. 

Seatownstriker's picture

I bought a pair last year at PAX Prime. And I love em! Use them everytime I play.

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