For the last two decades, the long-term health effects of spending countless hours in front of a computer monitor have been debated, and not enough time has gone by to provide compelling data. However, short-term effects have become very present as the resulting eye strain can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome, which includes headaches, double vision, blurred vision, neck pain, and difficulty in re-focusing eyes. Recent studies have led optometrists to strongly advise computer users to take a ten-minute break on every hour, but Gunnar Optiks has taken a different approach by releasing glasses with i-AMP technology claiming to reduce the harmful rays emitted by computer screens by 90% while improving focus and resolution. In spite of these marvelous claims, skeptics have attacked Gunnar stating that this technology is merely a placebo and that they do not provide much protection at all.
Presentation and Appearance:
The glasses come packaged in a modern elegant white box, appealing to open and remove. They lie delicately on top of a holder and include a white cloth for removing dust and fingerprints. At a first glance, the frame is of high quality and the lenses clearly spent some time being heavily polished. The majority of styles have amber tints which are a drawback to fashion, but are claimed to improve the functionality. They do not look horrid, but whether or not one would choose to wear them in a coffee shop is debatable.
Reduction of Eye Strain:
Perhaps this is where the majority of concern should lie before diving into a purchase. While staring at a computer monitor, placing on the glasses provides an immediate relief, especially if you are keeping eyestrain in mind. The dim tint along with the readjustment of the glasses removes a great deal of bright light emitted from the screen, but allows every piece of text and graphic to remain clear and visible.
The second great claim is that Gunnar Optiks will improve vision when using a computer. The lenses offer a helpful .5 magnification and claim to increase resolution, but I have not found this to be the case as that logic may be flawed all together. The text is clearer and distinct, but overall the glasses greatly reduced my satisfaction. First of all, the tint is similar to a pair of ski goggles in that pretty much all colors will be distorted in the amber color as long as the glasses are worn. Secondly, the glasses have the capability of actually removing two generations from your computer’s graphics. The extent to which the monitor dulls rids it of any modern or innovative graphical qualities. These may work well for word processing, basic web surfing, and application development, but at the moment that videos and images get involved, the function of the glasses diminishes, as the reduced eyestrain will not make up for the headaches caused by a lack of color perception.
With the slight magnification and claimed resolution improvement, it becomes clear quickly that these glasses offer increased focus. It is easy to avoid distraction when all you can see is big flat letters emphasized by the dim surroundings. The problem that I had is that it becomes almost impossible to lose focus. It is very difficult when wearing the glasses to not look directly at the screen, and my eyes are incapable of blurring text when they are on.
The glasses rest softly just as any other pair would. I found the tint to be soothing and liked how the size and curved shape allowed it “wrap around” my eyes. The glasses stay very stable and there is no sensation that they will move or fall off, and because of this there is no need for constant adjustments. The only drawback is that the bridge holding the lenses together is solid black, and happens to create two bulgy lines in the corner of vision for both eyes. This can be adapted to, but focusing on them can become fairly irritating.
The Gunnar Optiks computer glasses were a solid effort still in development. The concept may be crucial to health-related innovation as consumer technology races forward without taking into account possible dangers. The glasses show an obvious relieving difference in reducing eyestrain and improve focus while remaining comfortable and compact. They are definitely worth it for anyone looking to reduce eyestrain but are flawed in that the extent to which they improve vision is nonexistent if not harmful. Perhaps it would be best if Gunnar shifted their marketing towards the health field and did not stress vision improvements as much in their pitch. The future holds a lot for this technology, and some small adjustments could make owning a pair of these more beneficial and appealing. Unless you are bothered by your current viewing situation, you may want to wait for future implementations of this technology. Gunnar Optiks Computer Glasses are available at gunnars.com and start at around $80.
Composite Score: 8/10
Great start, but room For improvement.