Lately, my eyes have been feeling a lot of strain after hours and hours of developing everyday which has also led to headaches. I didn’t used to have this problem but I guess age is finally catching up to me. After doing some research I realized that this is a very common problem but there are some solutions (of varying success). Some people who suffer from chronic eye strain due to heavy computer use recommend taking frequent breaks away from the monitor. Others recommend tweaking the brightness, contrast and gamma of the computer’s video output until you find that magical setting that is easy on the eyes yet doesn’t destroy the quality of the image – not easy to do. After having tried both of those recommendations, the strain on my eyes did get a little better but only slightly so. Then I heard about Gunnar Optiks glasses.
It might seem a little strange to wear what are basically sunglasses while sitting at your computer but the concept is very similar to sunglasses that you wear while outdoors which protect your eyes from harsh light and ultra-violet radiation from the sun. The Gunnar glasses help protect your eyes from harsh indoor fluorescent lights and the light emitted by your computer monitor. I can’t honestly say that I understand exactly how they work but I can honestly say that they do work, almost completely eliminating the eye strain I used to feel.
Not everything is rosy with these glasses however. For one thing, the price is pretty steep. The particular model of glasses I purchased on Amazon.com was $120 which seemed a little crazy to me at the time. However, if they help keep my eyes healthy and allow me to sit for longer periods at the computer without needing to take a break then they will pay for themselves very quickly.
The other problem I have with the glasses is the yellow tinting which is not distracting at all but does slightly discolor what I’m looking at on screen. If I’m working on something which requires that I get the color precisely right then I need to pull the glasses down briefly. It’s not a huge problem for me but something to keep in mind if you’re a graphic designer for whom precise color is very important.
I should also say that I wear contact lenses and the glasses in no way interfere with them. In fact, one of Gunnar’s advertised benefits is that the curvature of the lenses and the frame causes the humidity around your eyes to rise slightly so they don’t get dried out as easily. I can’t attest to whether this is true but I’ve never had a problem with dry eyes.
So, the upshot of all this is that I would strongly recommend these glasses to anyone who uses a computer for 6+ hours per day and already has a problem with eye strain or suffers from light sensitivity. They did take me a couple of days before I felt comfortable using them on a regular basis but now I can’t imagine sitting at the computer without them.