[HARDWARE] While I was browsing the shelves at BestBuy (an american electronics store) looking for a new XBox game for my stepson, I came across a pair Gunnar eyeware glasses just across the isle. Initially thinking they were just some frames for kids to make them look cool (or stupid) while playing video games. But these things are no joke. And when you get them, you will quickly see why. And as they are from the guys that brought you Oakley, they are high in quality, use Carl Zeiss lenses, and they are not cheap. Come see what I am talking about.
The purpose and what they claim:
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. 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 can take a toll on your eyes.
GUNNARS increase contrast, comfort and focus while minimizing eye fatigue and visual stress for anyone who spends long hours staring at digital screens. GUNNAR eyewear is powered by i-AMP lens technology comprised of a proprietary lens material in an advanced geometry tuned for intermediate viewing distance and finished with custom formulated lens filters, tints and coatings.
Now Gunnar eyeware comes in 4 different types:
Computer eyewear: For day to day long hours doing simple computer tasks.
Gaming eyeware: FlightSimulation, Xbox, iPad gaming, etc.
Outdoor eyeware: For situations where you will be using outdoor screens.
Prescription eyeware: same as all of the above but the lenses can also be adapted for prescription use.
Now the glasses I am reviewing here are the gaming variant. And more to the point, I personally chose the $80 RPG model in the Gunmetal color exactly as seen below:
Now my first concern was the obvious: those yellow lenses. Personally, when I choose a pair of sunglasses, if it's one thing I hate, is seeing the world through a different color. You ever see people wearing red sunglasses? Looking through those things is like being on the planet Mars or something. Here, obviously, the world is going to have that sort of yellowish tint when you look through them. But you have to bear in mind, these glasses are meant for 1 thing. Staring at digital screens.
Now I will warn you now, it's going to take some time for your eyes to acclimate to the change. But my advice is try the following: Put the glasses on, play your simulator for 10 minutes straight, then take them off and put them down.
You are going to notice a difference so big, you will want to put them back on immediately.
You ever see peoples eyes water when they remove their eye glasses and they wipe them quickly so they can put them back on. Almost the same feeling here and I wear prescription eyeglasses. I'm near-sighted.
After the 10 minutes of my eyes adjusting to the screen though these lenses and removal of the glasses, I quickly saw just how bland and colorless my monitor/screen actually appeared. That's because the glasses make the colors on the screen more vibrant and warm to the eye. As my eyes adjusted to the lenses, I no longer noticed the yellowish tint and everything just seems natural. Also, they create a direct focus on my screen making the monitor somehow seem bigger and everything in the background not on my screen sort of fade out. And my computer monitor is 30 inches as it is. When I used them on my 60 inch TV... well all I can say is wow.
But also keep in mind, these glasses are doing more than just making the colors in your flight simulation environment appear more real. They reduce glare and help minimize eye fatigue and visual stress that typically occurs over long periods of time while staring at digital displays. Such as that 5 hour long non-stop flight from LA to NY in your NGX.
As for weather or not the makers of these glasses are serious, here is a list of investors in the company: Peter Thiel (a founder of Pay Pal and early investor in FaceBook), 50 Cent, Carl Zeiss Vision, Monster, Christopher Burch, and Happy Madison Productions (Adam Sandler).
The founder himself, Joe Croft, comes directly from Oakley. So needless to say, the cheapest you will find will be in the $70 range and can climb quickly from there. These are clearly not toys. Personally, worth every penny I spent.
As for how they relieve your eyes, the warm colors naturally relaxes the eyes preventing eye-strain. And the glasses lock in eye moisture keeping them from drying out. Let's face it, the human eye was not designed for staring as screens. Just over a hundred years ago, there were no screens to stare at. So as screens become more of a part of daily human life, I personally consider it smart to protect those eyes as much as possible because let's face it, nothing is pulling us away from our flight simulators. So let's choose to fly smarter. And with all the different styles available, they will look good on you too!
Check out the entire Gunnar collection and learn more about them here: http://www.gunnars.com/