I feel somewhat like a politician these days as I made a pledge a while back that I’d write a feature once a week, if not, at least every month. Well, in comparison to one of those scoundrels, I’ve not fulfilled my destiny and leave a barren wasteland of good puns, clickbait headlines and articles that in no way are related to the gaming world.
However, all that is about to change. Not the commitment but the fact that I’ve got a new feature for you: gaming glasses. Yep, that’s a thing apparently. Well, it was.
I’m one of those people who is like a dog with a bone: once I’ve got my teeth around it, that’s it – I can’t let go. I become borderline obsessive and fixated on researching the crap out of whatever it is I’m interested in, so much so, that it almost loses meaning.
I think that’s one of the benefits of the internet. Going to the library in the olden days when we travelled on horseback would not be on the agenda, but opening up 20+ tabs in Brave (that’s the browser for kings) is as easy as typing in ‘are gaming glasses any good?’.
Do I need gaming glasses?
That was the beginning of my glasses quest, having seen a pair of official PS4 gaming glasses on a shopping site. I was looking for Christmas ideas for me to give to wifey, and these got my attention.
As a spectacles wearer, I don’t need new ones as I have more than enough pairs. My two most recent pairs were only bought earlier this year. I already have a pair of Ray-Bans that have these uber lenses, that my optician imported from Germany, that cancels out all blue light. Thing is, they don’t do them any more, and my new optician doesn’t sell them either.
So why am I entertaining this other than wanting new stuff and being a consumer whore? I’ve been plagued with eye strain, retinal migraines and general dry eyes these past few years and it doesn’t help how often that I’m on a screen of sorts.
I finish work on the Macbook then either watch TV or play with my phone for a bit. After storytime with the kids, I have a little bit of storytime myself and read on my iPad. Overall, it’s a long day. My existing 400 pairs of glasses work, but I wanted something specifically for indoor use that cancels out the bright lights, allows my eyes to go that extra mile without damaging them and because I’m a consumer whore and I want something new.
New quest unlocked: Gunnar glasses
After exploring the official PS4 gaming glasses initially on Amazon and reading some user reviews, I eventually came upon some Gunnar glasses. Now, I’m already familiar with these as Game Grumps have their own line, and I’m a fan of theirs. Being based in the UK put me off buying from the states and all the other tomfoolery when it comes to postage and packaging, but the ones on Amazon were already in the UK.
Not needing a prescription, I could get these for next day delivery on Prime – woot! Nothing like impulse buying. The problem was, which ones did I
The Game Grumps frames were a statement. I’m quite a private and discreet person, but I tend to contradict that by getting loud clothing and accessories. Not consciously, I’m just attracted to bright colours. I’m like a neon Mothra. Their signature models stood out, but in all honesty, I didn’t feel they’d suit me.
Gunnar Intercept was coming up a hell of a lot, so I had a look at those. They were a large size, quite possibly the cheapest and they looked like my current Ray-Bans. I toyed with these for some time and decided to take the plunge. But first, let’s look at some Google images and YouTube videos to make sure I’d be happy with them.
Magnification and big heads
My initial searches were for the Intercept and Gunnar glasses in general. Ignoring the unboxing videos, I stumbled upon a handful of videos by a chap named Oliver Torres. His channel is called Eye Influence and I highly recommend it and have subscribed for future eye health-related information.
In summary, he addressed that Gunnar lenses are magnified by default and this isn’t readily advertised. He explained that it was covered in the FAQs on their site, but it might be down to people not really understanding the technical bits, so they omitted from the product page.
Later in his video, Oliver gives a quick appraisal of the Intercept glasses and generally gives a glowing review. More importantly on my part, he mentions the fit as they are a large size. As someone with a big noggin, this gave me the kick up the arse to go for them, even if they looked like my current glasses.
Diving deeper into YouTube, I started clocking other models that were all still relatively cheap – some a little higher than I wanted to pay for non-prescription. These models were the Cypher, Razer, Riot, PPK and Scope.
As I said, I have a big head and gave the Cypher a miss as they were too bold a statement for my face shape and not really my style. The Razer’s were a little pricer and I wasn’t fussed on the shape for the price. The Riot was out of stock so I looked at the PPK first, then the Scope via Google images, Pinterest and YouTube once more.
A lack of new video content
There were a reasonable amount of images, but most of the videos were years old. Why doesn’t anyone talk about Gunnar glasses any more? Perhaps they do, but maybe the reason that all these videos were old could be a few things.
First, the reviewers are still using them and have had no need to change or upgrade them.
Secondly, the models I was looking at haven’t changed over the years or there are new models that have superseded them.
Third, they’re crap and nobody uses after their unboxing.
Let’s look at the first one. There’s a consensus that all the Gunnar glasses models are lightweight, very comfortable to wear and the amber lenses they use make images and text more crisp.
A lot of people also said they are expensive, easy to break and if doing editing work such as colour correction, they aren’t exactly the bee’s knees.
Having studied the videos and images quite thoroughly, I came to the conclusion that all the models were more or less the same. It was about finding a frame that suited me more than anything. The PPK looked too plasticky and the Scope were a funny shape. I toyed with the idea of the Intercept again…
Migraines and Vaypers
I was so close to going for the Intercepts when I saw an image of the Vayper’s. They didn’t stand out as such, but I clicked on an image and then landed on a YouTube review by a TFI who had previously never wore glasses.
This was probably the defining moment. While I haven’t experienced pain such as when he mentions in the video, I have been to Eye Casualty a couple of times, had acupuncture on my shoulders, taken different medicines etc.. all because I get retinal or ocular migraines twice a year. There’s nothing that specifically triggers them, but what happens is a warm numb feeling in one side of my face and I start to lose focus.
If I close one eye and swap between the two, neither appears any different then within 5 minutes of the warning, I lose sight in one of my eyes. It’s hard to explain but it’s like all I see is grey light. I can’t see any text or focus on anything as before I’ve tried to text/call for help but I can’t see where to type on a smartphone. It lasts anywhere between 10 minutes to a couple of hours and it’s quite terrifying really.
The only thing I’ve found that helps regain my sight without sitting it out is ibuprofen. However, once this kicks in, I get a violent headache – a migraine in fact, and I literally can’t keep my head up for too long and I feel like I’m going to throw up.
As you can imagine, I don’t want to experience this any more. Funny that.
I believe it’s screen related plus posture as I’ve been tested for everything under the sun and there’s nothing conclusive, so going to give these glasses a try to see what happens.
I’ve ordered the Vayper’s as above and they are due today (I wrote this last night, and just added the images this morning). I’ll write a review or another feature after a couple of weeks or so and see if these really are helpful or whether it’s conclusive that the reason why nobody talks about Gunnar glasses is that they are crap.
Reeling it back it, I value my eyesight and want to do my best to maintain it. Regular eye tests will combat that and regular breaks from the screen but as the nature of my work, and also writing these posts, mean I’m on the screen for about 12-16 hours a day, I’m going to take a chance and try out these gaming goggles.