As people spend more time looking at screens, blue light blocking glasses have grown in popularity. But many wonder if they really work, if they are worth the cost, and if they can look fashionable.
Studies have shown that the blue light emitted from screens can throw the body's natural rhythm out of whack. The light mimics that of sunlight, which has the benefit of keeping people alert during the day. But as people continue to use screens into the night, that blue light shining in the eyes all day and evening long can make it difficult to get to sleep, and can prevent restful sleep.
Blue light blocking glasses aim to change that. The lenses feature a yellow tint that block the blue lights and hues, not only in computer screens, but out in the world as well. Producers of these glasses, companies like Gunnar, hope to give people a relief from the blue light, like sunglasses for screens. They help with computer and tv screens, meaning that folks can use them at work during the day and during their game playing time during the night. They might even help young Fortnite players sleep better.
Gunnar has created many different lines of glasses. The glasses each have different features and come in different styles depending on the preference of the wearer. Gunnar even partners with game companies to make new styles. For review, Gunnar provided a pair of their Torpedo 360 glasses and a pair of their Intercept glasses, which each have a different focus - one on comfort and modularity, the other on style.
Blue Blocking Lenses
Before discussing the individual styles, it will help to give context about the blue light blocking lenses and their effectiveness in daily use. Both pairs of glasses feature the same lenses, Gunnar Amber, which aims to block 65 percent of the blue light from screens.
The amber lenses have a visible yellow tint from the outside. While it doesn't look as dramatic as yellow-tinted sunglasses, it definitely looks yellow enough to make their function unmistakable from the outside. Gunnar also has a line of clear lenses that seem less conspicuous, but they trade form for function with a 30 percent reduction in blue light blocking.
When folks first put the glasses on, they will notice the world shift to a much warmer color. The glasses don't only block blue light from screens, but they aim to block all kinds of blue light. Even without dedicated UV protection, the lenses make sunlight shining in through a window look more flat and tolerable. At first, it might feel off-putting, but that feeling fades quickly. Once the eyes adjust, it makes a noticeable difference when looking at a screen. Screens fade into the background, in a way. Looking at them no longer feels slightly jarring. They just kind of feel like another surface, like looking at a book or a printed picture. The glasses also have a slight magnification which helps makes text easier to read without feeling disorienting.
After using the lenses for a week, sleep comes easier and feels more restful. Folks who work on computer screens all day and then go home for lengthy gaming sessions in the evening, like for late-night Destiny raids, stand to benefit the most. When using the glasses in the evening, the eyes definitely feel less strained once the screens go off an it's time for bed.
While the blue blocking experience mostly feels positive in the long-term, it comes with some definite drawbacks during use. As mentioned above, the yellow tint does make things look more yellow, and while it doesn't take too long to get used to, it does change the way colors look on the screen. Game graphics will take on a yellow hue that doesn't affect gameplay, but will make things look a little different. For most games this shouldn't be a problem, but if players want to experience a big beautiful open-world game in all of its HDR glory, they might choose to take the glasses off. Fallout games might look especially strange.
As far as working goes, most computerized tasks benefit from blue light blocking lenses. Folks who spend their days in word processors, writing code, browsing the web, using spreadsheets, or doing anything else that requires staring at text on a white screen will have no issues doing so in these lenses, and will often times feel better. However, folks like artists and designers who require the use of color precision in their work will find they have to remove the glasses for those tasks as the yellow tint will change the way colors look on the screen.
One note about the Gunnar lenses: they have the Gunnar logo printed on the lens in the top left corner. Even though it can't be seen at all from the inside while wearing them, it can definitely be seen from the outside if talking to someone face-to-face. It just feels like overkill.
Now that the benefits of the blue blocking lenses have been discussed, it's time to look at some of the pairs that Gunnar has to offer.
Gunnar's Torpedo 360 glasses feature a lightweight frame with a more rounded shape that wrap around the head. They come with a zip-up carrying case that has a second set of lenses, a microfiber pouch, a microfiber cloth, and some modularity options for comfort.
The pair comes with two sets of lenses. The first are simple blue blocking lenses, as described above. The second set puts that blue blocking technology into sunglass lenses that block 90 percent of all blue light. These sunglasses work incredibly well. The slight yellow tint they add on top of the normal grey tinting of sunglasses doesn't feel nearly as notable in these lenses. Wearing them in the sun might make folks consider never wearing regular sunglasses again. All aggression towards the eyes via sunlight disappears behind these lenses.
The pair also comes with the ability to swap out the bridge for different sizes based on the size and shape of the wearer's nose. The lenses and bridges click in and out with minimal fuss and allow for the best comfort options. The glasses themselves have and incredibly lightweight and flexible frame that doesn't squeeze the temples yet also doesn't feel cheaply made.
To accommodate that modularity, these glasses do take on a more "workshop glasses" look. They look sleek, but they also look like steak safety goggles. While some folks might not mind this look, it definitely makes them stand out as different from other types of glasses beyond just the yellow tinted frames. For private gaming sessions, it doesn't really matter, but for streaming or working on a laptop in public, they might stand out.
Gunnar's Intercept glasses trade modulatory for style. The glasses feature thicker, more square frames and come in indigo, onyx, and dark oak styles. These frames look a lot more inconspicuous, and with the clear lenses, they might just look like regular glasses.
The frame construction feels thick and sturdy and the joints on the glasses feel tight. They grip the head firmly and don't ever fall down. While some might feel weird with the yellow tinted lenses, for the most part these look great and would stand out far less in public situations.
The stylistic choice does come with a few drawbacks. For one, they don't allow folks to swap out the lenses or changes the nose bridge. They take the one-size fits all approach. Because of this, they do feel tight on the head by default and can put a bit more stress on the temples throughout the day than the Torpedo. That stress does alleviate over time as they stretch out a bit, but it never quite goes away.
The bottom line is that blue blocking lenses do work as advertised. As screens continue to grow as parts of our lives, these yellow tinted lenses will become more standard. It's nice to see companies like Gunnar going out of their way to make them feel high-end and fashionable.