Gunnar Optik Bitsurfer Glasses

Over the past three years I’ve discovered I’ve dramatically increased the amount of time I spend looking at computer screens.  I didn’t think that could be possible, but I’ve begun to notice it recently with some occasional eye strain and the random headache. I have a very light eye prescription to correct some minor near-sightedness in my left eye (so light I don’t legally need my glasses to drive), and I found that on days where I wore my glasses quite a bit I had less eye strain at the end of the day, but on days I didn’t my eyes were really tired.

I’ve needed some new glasses for a while and had heard about Gunnar Optik glasses from several friends.  For those who don’t know, Gunnar Optik makes a line of eye glasses available in both prescription and normal that are designed for people who spend a lot of time looking at screens all day. They make a variety of lenses as well for things like active technology 3D and outdoor work as well I have a pair of their “Bitsurfer” design, which is the one of their inexpensive lines (roughly $89 a pair online or elsewhere):


The frame is a metallic crimson and the lenses themselves are super clear, and light yellow tinted.  They came in what seemed like a metalized box which is quite nice, and inside the glasses were set in an insert for protection.

So do they work?  I confess I was *really* turned off by their marketing language, here’s a sample:

diAMIX lens material, fRACTYL lens geometry, i-FI lens coatings, iONIK lens tint. The wrapped lenses also reduce air flow around the eye, creating a microclimate with increased moisture levels.

Their jargon is infused with snAKEoIL phrases and BUnCOMBE language that really turns the science oriented geek in me right off, so I was super skeptical. But friends who had them swore by them.  I can happily say that after several days alternating between the Gunnars and my old glasses, they do indeed seem to work.

In fact, I love them.  The lenses are much wider than my old glasses and the frames fit better.  There is an ever so slight magnification on the lenses as well which not only more or less equals my old glasses but I find really works well for the large screens I work on now. The tint takes getting used to.  Everything does indeed become yellowish.  For some things that actually works great, as the tint makes computer monitor images have a much less stark contrast while still being crisp and clear.  But I find watching movies in hi def, the tint changes things a little too much. Not a deal breaker at all since you certainly don’t have to wear them all the time.  Just something to note. But doing computer work or gaming either on the PC or my consoles is clearly changed for the better given just how many hours I spend doing it.

There’s only one flaw in fact so far that I have found.  The lenses themselves are so highly polished that in certain lighting conditions I can clearly see the reflection of my eyes in the lenses!  It’s a tad distracting but almost all glasses have this to some extent.  It’s not often but when it happens it takes some getting used to.

Could I get the same benefits from cheaper glasses or ones from an eye doctor?  I have no idea if the Gunnars are overpriced or not, but I can report that at $89 they do what they claim to do, and after several days of using them I’ve noticed at the end of the day I have much less of that “sand in my eyes” feeling of tiredness.  That makes it reasonable when I consider I paid $200 for my prescription pair of glasses. So while I’d do a rewrite of their marketing lingo, I like these enough to investigate going to an eye doctor to perhaps get the prescription version to wear all the time.

Plus Rochelle says I look good in them, which it’s always a bonus when your wife likes your glasses.  Now if I could just get over feeling like Bono when I wear them…

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