Why Buy Gaming Glasses
You only have one pair of eyes - protect them with the best gaming glasses. If you are like most people, you spend a large part of your day at on a computer (according to a recent American Time Use Survey Summary). No wonder then that the Vision Council found that 70 percent of US adults deal with digital eye strain, a condition characterized by blurred vision, general fatigue, neck or back pain and other other symptoms.
The ideal solution would be to cut back on the time we spend staring at computer or smartphone screens, but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. There is, however, a proven solution that can help you protect your eyes and prevent disruptions in sleep patterns and serotonin levels. We are talking, of course, about gaming glasses. The best gaming glasses will shield your eyes to protect them from many of the factors that cause eye strain and tension headaches.
Chances are that you’ve already seen gaming glasses from companies such as Gunnar or NoScope but were deterred by their relatively high price. This article will explain to you why it pays to shell out for a pair of high-quality gaming glasses, and why it may be one of the most important decisions you ever make as a gamer.
Don't succumb to headaches. Don't ruin your eyes. Get the best gaming glasses.
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How Gaming Glasses Work
Most gaming glasses are designed to reduce glare, increase the contrast on the screen, and get rid of blue light, a part of the visible light spectrum which can penetrate deeper into the eye and cause damage to the retina. As explained by Ronald Melton in his article The Lowdown on Blue Light, blue light is also implicated in the development of age-related macular degeneration, a medical condition which may result in blurred or loss of vision in the center of the visual field – pretty scary stuff.
First let’s take a look at some of the most common features of gaming glasses. Then once you understand their importance, we'll help you select the ideal pair from our list of the best gaming glasses.
Anti-Reflective (AR) Coating
When researchers from New York University College of Medicine surveyed 121 patients, they found that 69% of them considered glasses with an anti-reflective coating to be superior to those without it. The reduced glared resulted in lower pain and fewer vision problems.
A good anti-reflective coating effectively reduces glare bouncing off from other light sources, like a desk lamp or a window. For example, the extremely popular Gunnar Emissary Advanced Computer Glasses feature i-AMP technology, which provides a very effective glare reduction.
Currently, the best AR coating is the Crizal Sapphire UV. What you definitely want to avoid are glasses that have coatings just sprayed onto the lenses because they can be easily scratched off or damaged when you expose the glasses to extreme weather conditions or keep them under direct sunlight.
As we’ve already explained, blue light is the main enemy of everyone who works in front of a computer screen for any significant amount of time. The danger of blue light comes from its physical properties. Gary Heiting, OD, explains, “Rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and more energy.” He goes on to say that “virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina,” which is paramount because “laboratory studies have shown that too much exposure to blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This causes changes that resemble those of macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss.”
Indeed, countless studies have linked blue light with things like blue light-induced apoptosis in rat retina, sleep disturbances, suppression of melatonin secretion, and even negative effects on cognition. It probably goes without saying that you should always choose gaming glasses with a tint over glasses without it. Colorless glasses are meant for people who do color-sensitive work, not for gamers.
People who suffer from dry eyes often wear moisture chamber glasses. Using a soft, compressible eye cup or gasket, these glasses create a separate moisture chamber around each eye, thus slowing down the evaporation of tear moisture and maintaining a clean environment around eyes.
A good example of gaming glasses that are designed in a similar way are the NoScope Golem, but even plain gaming glasses like the NoScope Gemini will help you keep your eyes moist and free from pain and irritation. In fact, researchers from the Pacific University of Oregon compared several pairs of gaming glasses – some designed specifically to minimize moisture evaporation and others designed for general use – and discovered that they offer a comparable level of protection.
Gunnar gaming glasses are famous for their ability to make the image on the screen sharper. They do it by magnifying your view by 0.20x, which makes everything seem slightly clearer and closer – just like when you use a pair of 1.25x reading glasses.
If there is one feature you can probably get by without, this is it. Some customers even voiced their criticism, saying that the magnification is distracting and makes it impossible to do any work that involves straight lines.
On the other hand, many gamers swear by it, as it helps them nail precise headshots.
The Best Gaming Glasses: Reviewed
Gunnar Optiks ST002-C001 Phenom - BEST ALL AROUND
Best gaming glasses for: People who want the best quality/protection they can get
Our overall top pick goes to the Gunnar Optiks ST002-C001 Phenom. What makes these glasses from the world’s most popular manufacturer of premium gaming eyewear so special is their premium style and extraordinary quality.
As is the case with any pair of Gunnar glasses, the Phenoms feature the company’s special amber lenses that add additional contrast and block high-frequency blue light. They weigh only 15 grams, which makes them the lightest gaming glasses on this list, and coupled with their comfortable construction, you really won’t even notice that you're wearing them.
Gunnar always stands behind their products, offering a 1-year warranty that covers against all defects. All in all, if you can afford them, go for the Gunnar Phenoms and don’t look back. Your eyes will thank you for your decision.
NoScope Wraith - BEST VALUE
Best gaming glasses for: Fans of Oakley glasses and those looking for value
The NoScope Wraiths have earned our best value recommendation for their astonishing combination of effective eye protection, durable construction, and affordable price. The polycarbonate frames are very similar to sport-oriented glasses from Oakley, yet they still offer the features of gaming glasses.
The Wraiths provide a high degree of comfortability thanks to the use of soft silicone padding. Anti-strain properties come from a pair of resin-coated lenses, although for half the cost of Gunnars you can’t really expect them to be real glass.
At the end of the day that’s really a small price to pay for such a fantastic deal. If you're not sure whether gaming glasses are something you want to invest in, the NoScope Wraiths are the perfect entry ticket - making them the best gaming glasses around in terms of value.
Gunnar Optiks INT-00101 Intercept - BEST TRADITIONAL GLASSES
Best gaming glasses for: People looking for a more traditional design with added eye protection
The list wouldn't be complete without one full-rim model. The Gunnar Optiks INT-00101 Intercept come with a number of different colors (blue, red, white, purple, green, black, and gray), and despite their robust construction, they only weight 35 grams, making them ideal for long gaming sessions and everyday use.
Apart from the traditional design, these gaming glasses are jam-packed with modern technology designed to minimize glare and ease eye strain. And as a nice side bonus, they cost less than other Gunnar glasses.
Gunnar Optiks G0005-C00103 SheaDog - BEST COLORLESS GLASSES
Best gaming glasses for: People who work in a color-sensitive environment
Even though yellow tinted lenses are one of the most recognizable features of gaming glasses, some people simply don't need or want this feature. Graphic designers, medical professionals, and anyone else who works in a color-sensitive job will want colorless gaming glasses like the Gunnar Optiks G0005-C00103 SheaDog.
At only 20 grams, these glasses are super-lightweight, and the curvature of the glass protects the eye from light even coming from the side. The frame is made from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about problems with durability.
The only reason we can't these gaming glasses a perfect score is because they simply don’t provide as much eye protection as tinted models.
GAMMA RAY FLEXLITE GR OG-003-C1 - BUDGET OPTION
Best gaming glasses for: People looking for gaming glasses on a budget
The GAMMA RAY FLEXLITE GR OG-003-C1 are affordable glasses that, in many ways, rival Gunnars and NoScopes. For less than $20, you get a lightweight frame, amber-tinted lenses, carrying case, and even acleaning cloth.
How come they're so cheap? Because the manufacturer outsources all labor and uses lower-quality materials. The overall package is still excellent, but you don’t get the same superb level of protection that you get with glasses from Gunnar.
That being said, if you are on a tight budget or don’t plan on using your gaming glasses frequently, these are a stellar alternative if you're looking for the best budget gaming glasses.
If you're worried about your gaming health, check out these other useful lists:
Gaming glasses might not be the cheapest computer accessory you can invest in, but their importance can’t be stressed enough. We've provided a number of options in this review for any budget and any type of gamer. Personally, we love the Gunnar Phenoms. Sometimes it pays to get the best pair of glasses money can buy.
We'll see you next time, hopefully with a new pair of the best gaming glasses.