I ran into the Gunnar Optiks folks last year during the Penny Arcade Expo. The idea of glasses designed to reduce eye-strain from extended computer use or gaming sessions appealed to me.
Not only were the glasses supposed to cut down on the inevitable headaches, double vision and dry eyes, they looked pretty neat too. So I borrowed a set of Gunnar Optiks' curiously named Wi-Five gaming glasses and tried wearing them over the following months. Did they end up winning me over?
Looks: Gamers might say they're buying Gunnar Optiks' glasses because they are supposed to reduce eye strain and dry eyes, but the real reason most people will pick these up is because they think they look cool. And they're right, they do look cool.
Light Weight: As someone with light-sensative eyes, I pretty much always have to wear sunglasses outside to avoid headaches, so I've become pretty knowledgeable about what is and isn't important for me in glasses. Nearing the top of the list are glasses that are lightweight and comfortable. If you notice them, or worse still, they hurt after an hour or two, you just can't wear them. Gunnar's are very lightweight and rest easily on the head.
Optics: It's hard to judge the impact, but Gunnar's glasses certainly do a good job of filtering glare and normalizing the one a monitor or television looks. Seen through the glasses, my PC monitors have a healthier, more natural lighting to them. They also seem a tad more crisp.
Blurry Distance: Gunnar does warn that you should only wear their glasses while gaming or on your PC and they're not kidding. Anything you look at across the room has a slight blur to it. I would think that would increase eye strain any time you're not looking at your monitor or television, like while talking to someone.
Price: At $140, these single-use, non-prescription glasses are a bit too expensive for my taste.
Micro Climate Nonsense: Gunnar claims that the shape of the glasses trap moisture between your eyes and the inside lens. They even have studies to prove it increases ambient humidity around the eyes, but I still don't buy it. Even if it is true, I certainly didn't notice it, despite working and living in an incredibly dry climate.
The Wi-Fives certainly appeal to my aesthetic sense. They look neat and are amazingly comfortable. While wearing them I do notice a pretty significant reduction in glare and colors seem more appealing. However, I wasn't able to notice any significant reduction in eye strain or dry eyes. That doesn't mean they don't work, it just means they didn't have a noticeable impact for me.
I can't see myself plopping down $140 to pick up a pair, but if you're really into LAN gaming or are a pro-gamer I can see these having massive appeal. Besides the gold chains how else are you going to make yourself look Dude Hugeish?
Wi-Five gaming glasses were developed and sold by Gunnar Optiks for $139. Wore on and off for several months, typically for day long gaming or blogging sessions.
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