The video games market is expected to be worth over 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, from nearly 78.61 billion in 2017. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to understand that gaming is serious business. In addition to the hardware and software, this also means big bucks for peripheral brands that cater to support the gaming lifestyle in general.
One such emerging brand that caught our eye (literally) is GUNNAR, which makes glasses designed to protect gamers’ eyes while elevating their game. GUNNAR is the only patented gaming and computer eyewear (US Patented Lens #9417460) recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision. The result – improved clarity, focus and performance.
Consider this disturbing factoid: the average American now spends up to 12 HOURS a day looking at screens (computers, TV’s and phones combined). So it should come as no surprise that according to the The Vision Council of America (yes, there is such a thing) 70% of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain as a result of increased use of digital devices. Some of the symptoms of eye strain include:
• Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
• Blurred or double vision
• Sore neck, shoulders or back
• Increased sensitivity to light
• Difficulty concentrating
Let’s face it, you don’t have to be an avid gamer to be staring into a screen of some kind for much of your day, which is why GUNNAR makes glasses to reduce digital eye strain and block blue light in every aspect of your digital life. In addition to gaming, they have options for computing, reading, prescription and even sunglasses – but for the sake of this blog, we’ll be focusing on their Intercept glasses because they sound cool and would be fun to test out.
Right off the bat, I enjoyed using their virtual try-on feature, which does a great job of realistically showing how you’ll look in their glasses. Or in my case, how dorky I can be when hamming it up in their glasses…
Just call me Captain Smoothy. Only thing is, while it’s my job as a writer to spend retina-punishing amounts of time staring into a digital abyss of words, it wouldn’t make for a very engaging blog if I were to report back on my experience writing it wearing The Intercept. Meta, yes, interesting, no. Considering that my gaming experience peaked with Super Nintendo, I turned to our VFX magician, Brian, who like all good digital artists is also an avid gamer. I let Brian use The Intercept glasses for a full week before swinging by his game lair in Studio City for a little chat.
“I’ve been gaming for 29 years and I play every day of the week for multiple hours,” Brian told me while playing Overwatch. “I stream on Twitch and Mixer, so for me this more of a lifestyle than a hobby. Unfortunately, when your lifestyle involves a screen all day at work, and then a screen all night at home, eye-strain is super common, and gets worse with age. My eyes tear up, or get dry and sore. Video games are brighter and more saturated in color than anything in the natural environment, so gamers experience more eye-strain than most people.”
But how, exactly, do GUNNAR glasses work? Just as Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures protection for the skin, the BLPF scale measures lens protection for the eyes against artificial blue light. The higher the number, the better the protection.
“The 65 tint is perfect for me,” Brian added. “The amber hue doesn’t affect the colors or vividness of my game play. It took a little getting used to at first since I don’t normally wear glasses, but once I did, I forgot I was even wearing them. I can play for much longer than I used to without my eyes getting tired or irritated.” The Intercept boasts specs that reinforce Brian’s personal experience:
• Wide format lenses
• Rigid lens mounting
• Comfort curved nose rests
• Engineering grade injection polymers
• Multi-barrel hinges
• Proprietary patented GUNNAR lens material and tint
• Blocks harmful blue light and 100% UV light
• Anti-reflective lens coatings on front and back of lens
• Silicone hard coated lens to prevent scratching
“I know professional players that wear protective glasses, so there’s definitely a huge and growing market for a brand like this,” Brian told me while decimating his online competition with the accuracy of a NAVY Seal. “I also use these for regular work. Anything involving a bright, white screen – such as spreadsheets or word documents – instantly feels better with these on.” So does Brian endorse GUNNAR? “As a professional digital artist, visual effects supervisor, and lifetime gamer, I would highly recommend these glasses to anyone who clocks a lot of screen time daily. For sure.”
As an emerging brand, GUNNAR combines form and function in a very cool way. Beyond just glasses, they also lean into the lifestyle with additional offerings such as apparel and other accessories to help round-out the experience. Whether or not you know the difference between Overwatch and Super Mario Bros., getting a pair of protective glasses is a smart move that your eyes will thank you for down the line.