Peripherals that actually don't suck: Gunnar Optik eSport glasses

Item: Gunnar Optik eSports glasses
Price: $80-$100
Buy it

Themanufacturer’s websitefor these high-end goggles lists more than a dozen enhanced features – most of which sound like a load of voodoo marketing crap. But they’re not. Two weeks after my ocular orbs fell in love with these shades, I asked my optometrist what kind of glasses could help a heavy computer user and gamer. She systematically suggested every single feature the Gunnars have. By the time I left, she was on the website herself. Hokey sounding to the layman or not, Gunnars are legit.

So what to Gunnars actually do? Basically, they do lots of little things that are good for your eyeballs. Gunnars’ lenses are tinted and coated to enhance “good” frequencies of light, cut down on “visual noise” and block out reflections and glare. This actually makes images onscreen look clearer and sharper. In theory, this also leads to faster reaction times, but yours truly still sucks as Black Ops, so no confirmation there. Then again, dozens of pro gamers are wearing these things and they seem to be doing just fine, so there’s that.

Above: Gunnars are the official glasses of the Major League Gaming circuit. More importantly, the players actually wear them, so you know they do something

Gunnars also filter out specific frequencies of bluish-white light that our monitors unleash in vast amounts, causing eye fatigue. So your eyes won’t get as “tired.” And the lenses are specifically shaped to fend off little gusts of air and keep humidity close to your eyeballs (as all glasses would to a degree, obviously), which helps keep your eyes moist and lets you play longer without irritation.

So, should you want a pair of Gunnars? If you already wear “normal” glasses and don’t want to double up, it’s probably a no. Maybe save up for contact lenses, instead? And if you play in small doses, sit in an evenly-lit room, have never experienced eye fatigue and aren’t terribly competitive, maybe not.

For everyone else… maybe so. It’s an inexact science, but I’d suggest looking into Gunnars if any two or three of these statements describe your gaming style:
-If you’re a PC player who sits close to a monitor, or a console player whose couch is abnormally close to a giant TV.
-If you play for hours on end.
-If you play so competitively that a mildly perceptible bump in visual clarity is worth it to you.
-If you have naturally dry eyes.
-If you play in a dark room, in which a bright TV blazes like a high-contrast star.
-If you actually do feel your eyes get fatigued at times (if this one’s a yes, I guarantee these will feel like an instant massage for your eyes).

Above: This is the exact pair of Gunnars I am wearing as I type this

For my own part, the Gunnars are a godsend. But I make my living staring at various glowing screens for 14 hours a day, so I’ll admit your mileage may vary. But that’s okay. The point I’m trying to make is not that you absolutely need these glasses. The point is that they actually do the things they claim to do. So if the things I’m talking about here sound good to you, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on these … ahem … Gunnars.

Nov 24, 2010

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Eric Bratcher
I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.