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Gunnar Optiks: Yellow-Tinted Gaming Glasses

October 21, 2011

While I typically tend to ignore most of the ads on the side of my Facebook page, I occasionally find one that interests me. That’s how I found out about my now-favorite game store, and it’s also how I first heard about Gunnar Optiks. Gunnar Optiks produces glasses that reduce eye strain and enhance contrast on screens, and are marketed towards both frequent computer users who suffer from various eyestrain related symptoms, and towards the professional gaming community. Two of the gaming models in the Gunnar product lineup are endorsed by MLG, and a few more bear the SteelSeries name.

When I first heard about these, I wondered about them for only a few minutes before I moved on. They bear a pretty hefty price tag for something that may or may not actually help you at all. However, a full year later, curiosity and incredibly sensitive, frequently bloodshot eyes got the best of me. I got the “PPK” model from Best Buy for about $80 on Tuesday.  My opinion of them has fluctuated, but after using them for a few days, I’m happy with my purchase. I’ll talk you through my experience.

One thing to note is that these are not “glasses” in the traditional sense; they’re designed for people with normal vision and are more comparable in function to sunshades. If you use glasses, I might suggest wearing contacts underneath these if you truly feel you need the strain reduction. However, in that case, I’d recommend talking to your optometrist to see if there’s a better solution.

When I first put on the Gunnars, I was quite underwhelmed. They turn everything yellow. That’s pretty much all it looks like they do. Look at a screen, and everything’s yellower than normal. I was fairly disappointed in them within the first hour or so, but I decided to keep them on throughout the day to see how well they worked. It should be noted that an advertised feature of these glasses is screen glare reduction. It does this moderately well, but if your screen is kind of dirty and has an enormous window shining on it like mine does, there’s only so much it can be helped.

I really began to notice a difference on the first night of using the Gunnars. The primary light source in my room is a giant fluorescent bulb built into my desk, less than two feet from my face when I’m using the computer. It’s typically a bright, shiny punch to the eyeballs, but the Gunnars really cut down on the strain that it generally causes. It turns out that these glasses are far more effective at combating strain in settings where your primary light source is fluorescent or incandescent. In daylight, they’re less necessary. When I woke up the next morning after first using the Gunnars, I was incredibly impressed by the lack of redness in my eyes. Typically, they’re bloodshot if I use the computer past midnight.

After a few days of playing all sorts of games with these glasses on, I can attest to their performance enhancing capabilities. However, these aren’t “100 meter dash” glasses, they’re more suited to gaming marathons. Wearing them during a competitive match won’t really do much more than cut a bit of screen glare and possibly increase the contrast a bit. However, if you’re planning on playing a fairly ocular intensive game (such as a first person shooter or a game with a lot of small things on screen to pay attention to) for hours on end, these will definitely save you a lot of headache (literally). Play for five hours straight with a naked eye, and try again the next day with Gunnars; you’ll definitely notice a difference.

While the Gunnars do a pretty good job of performing their advertised functions, they also have to be judged on the same qualities as any other sort of eyewear. They’re still, in essence, a clothing article, so comfort and style come into play. The PPKs are some of the most narrow of the bunch, and they look nice, sleek, and professional. They’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and the temples are thin and flat so as to not interfere with headset-wearing. They’ve worked with every headset I’ve tried wearing with them, but there could possibly be an issue with especially large over-the-ear headsets. All of the Gunnar gaming models are designed with headset-wearing in mind, and they come in a variety of styles (especially popular are the MLG Legends, which are an “Aviator” style).

All in all, I feel as though the Gunnar Optiks PPK glasses were a good addition to my set of gaming gear. Those of you who don’t pull long stints ingame and don’t have sensitive eyes or headaches might want to give them a pass, but for me, they’re great performance enhancers. You can order Gunnars online, or buy them at Best Buy and a number of other stores. The Gunnar Optiks website has a handy store locator.


  • Comfortable and stylish
  • Good for sensitive eyes, strain-induced headaches, and long gaming sessions
  • Don’t interfere with headset usage
  • The yellow tint can sometimes be hard to ignore
  • The beneficial effects aren’t immediately noticeable
  • Not as effective in natural light as in artificial light, however in natural light they are less necessary



  1. Mark - June 23, 2012 10:48 am

    Gunnar optics help reduce more then just eye-strain they filter out harmful blue light which is quite possibly the leading cause of blindness in North America whereas cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in 3rd world countries just a 15 minute procedure for us. I have been doing research which indicates that polarized light is responsible for this problem as it slowly heats and dissolves macular fluid in your eyes, over 40 years you go blind slowly.

    Its a good investment. I use my glasses over 16 hours a day however I am unsure if I can get prescription ones of the same quality. I am trying to find out what qualities these glasses have compared to normal tinted ones with glare reduction.

  2. juicy814 - April 27, 2012 3:44 am

    I have to laugh at the idea of gam­ing eye-wear even if it does legit­i­mately help under cer­tain conditions.

  3. STA_Adam - November 7, 2011 11:05 pm

    Gunnar actually has started branching out into other parts of the vision industry. There are stores that offer Gunnar frames into which you can have regular lenses placed. They also sell 3D glasses that are meant to work on 3D TVs and in most theaters as well.

  4. joydeep - November 6, 2011 3:38 pm

    Hello guys!!
    I’m planning to buy a pc specially for gaming….please suggest me a gaming pc full configuration. budget $730…..
    please mail me. my email id is joydeep.elta@gmail.com
    thank u….

  5. Technomancer - November 4, 2011 5:17 am

    Seems a little silly at first glance, but as a gamer that have played through more than a couple of marathon sessions, I can see how anything that makes your eyes more relaxed could be very nice indeed.

    Maybe this is something to consider in time for the release of The Old Republic 😉

  6. Clif - November 1, 2011 10:12 am

    I have not worn Gunnars for gaming, specifically, but I do wear them when working at my PC for hours on end. They have definitely helped to reduce eyestrain and headaches.

  7. Niels - October 24, 2011 4:57 am

    I came across these glasses about 6 months ago, and I’m yet to be impressed by them. The use for someone like me, who doesn’t do a whole lot of back to back gaming for hours, is limited to say the least.

    The hefty price tag that comes with them does not justify the gain for me, if there is any real benefit at all and not just your mind thinking it works.

    Also, it turns brown, run-of-the-mill shooters even browner 😀

  8. CharcoalCoyote - October 22, 2011 5:22 pm


    I have to admit, if they were stockier and more “goggle-ey”, I wouldn’t wear them in public. They legitimately look good. If I somehow damaged my eyes to the point that I’d need glasses, I’d want a pair that looks similar to the PPKs.

    Many people would also scoff at the idea of gaming glasses, saying that we should just take more frequent breaks and/or not play as much. In most cases, this is a far more viable solution. However, many gamers work a job which requires them to use a computer, and still more are high school and college students, a job in itself which is becoming increasingly more reliant on computer usage. Also, professional gamers (not just highly competitive gamers, I’m referring to the ones who make a career out of it) are REQUIRED to practice for absurd amounts of time each day. An aid such as this is probably a huge help in practicing for extended periods of time.

    I know you and your budget situation. The lowest price you’ll get on a pair of Gunnars is $79. The two gaming models (the ones with the temples that are thin and work with headsets) at $79 are the PPK, which is one of the most popular models and will shortly be available in a lot of frame colors, and the MLG Phantoms, which are less boxy and cover slightly more eye area.

  9. IronJade - October 22, 2011 4:41 pm

    I am going to be getting a pair when money allows, last night for example my wife forced me off the PC and into bed at a measly 10PM because of the way my eyes were… for the past week and a half I have been non stop gaming, mainly for reviews, and my eyes had had it. These would help tremendously for the people like me that are on a PC for 8-10 straight hours.

  10. RAY16 - October 22, 2011 1:54 pm

    I have to laugh at the idea of gaming eye-wear even if it does legitimately help under certain conditions.

  11. thsoundman - October 22, 2011 12:03 am

    Interesting… I’ve never been a fan of “gaming goggles” it reminds me of the old red lined VR video game system that came out a decade or so ago, the Virtual Boy.

    These ‘gunnar optics’ seems like it’s geared towards people with strained vision or sensitive eyes. You have that issue so this seems like a perfect fit for you. The only time that my eyes get sore is when I forget to blink. I haven’t really had that problem in a long time since i quit doing competitive gaming.

    That being said they are pretty cool looking. I wouldn’t mind owning a pair ‘testing’ purposes.


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