So why use gaming goggles and are gaming glasses worth it? Well, Eyes, they’re pretty darn fun to have around, aren’t they? I’m pretty sure we’ve all shared exposure to the doomsayer who warned, “If you spend too much time in front of the computer, you’re going to end up with spectacles the size of soda bottles!” Even if we didn’t give much thought to it back then, we all would eventually come to grips with the ugly truth that spending too much time in front of a monitor could leave you with some serious eye fatigue and strain; some being affected far more than others, due to the wonderful fact that we’re all built differently.
The most suggested fix to this is to take regular breaks and give your eyes time to recover before you get back to wearing them down again. Unfortunately, the most suggested fix also happens to be the one that gets chucked straight out the window. We figure that we’d just tough through it and push on through the pain and nausea, and although it gets us just a bit further, we eventually feel much worse for the wear and tell ourselves that the trade-off isn’t worth it… That is, until the next session.
As it turns out, the rabbit hole that would explain much of the discomfort we experience, leads to many different problems; the most controllable of which happen to be: glare and reflected light (when wearing prescription glasses), strobe, harsh light (the farther reaches of blue light all the way up to the UV spectrum. This is why staring straight up at the sky on a clear day hurts your eyes, even if the sun isn’t in direct line of sight) and strain caused by distance/motion.
Glare: Many top-end gaming glasses come with an anti-glare coating, but oddly enough, a lot don’t. In balanced lighting conditions, the lack of anti-glare isn’t much of a problem, but it is very noticeable when lighting conditions are even a little unfavorable. An anti-glare coating can only do so much by itself, so an anti-reflective coating is added to keep those pesky ghost images from distracting you from your view. The result is a lens that provides a clear image and some comfort without requiring a strong tint.
Strobe: On most modern monitors that live a little higher up on the budget hierarchy, you’d needn’t worry about strobe or refresh rate flicker at all; they come with high refresh rates and a frame sync of one kind or another. But some of us might still be stuck with some of the more budgeted options, where the flicker isn’t readily noticeable but can still cause discomfort after long hours of viewing. In the latter case, there’s not much to do about the flicker, but paired with a set of anti-glare glasses, the flicker remains but doesn’t hurt your eyes.
Harsh light: UV radiation can seriously mess up your eyes, but thankfully, there’s none of it to be had from your computer display. What DOES come off of your display and can cause quite a bit of discomfort is blue light. Glasses with amber tints eliminate a lot of blue light and leave the world in a warm tone, to your eyes, at least. Most glasses come with different tint densities, with some at %99 and most at a pleasant %50 – although some go lower. The upside to high tint densities is that you can keep a session going for insane hours, without much eye fatigue; the downside, however, is that at that strong of a tint, you’re not going to see much color, other than a dull amber.
Distance: Most of us, if not all, usually set up our monitors at a comfortable viewing distance, so this is not a bother at all.
With that little primer out of the way, let’s move on to the glasses and their technical specs (no pun intended).
Now let’s take a look at the best gaming glasses in 2018;
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UVEX Skyper – Gaming Glasses Review
The Uvex Skyper doesn’t look like much more than a pair of safety glasses. Spoiler: it is a pair of safety glasses. The Uvex Skyper comes with several safety grade certifications and an entire swatch of tints to choose from, including a %90 amber tint.
- Great build quality comes with a scratch resistant hard coat and anti-fog coat.
- Amber tint eliminates the majority of blue light.
- Very low price compared to most gaming glasses.
- Customizable temple, with headbands.
- Goggle design keeps moving air out and keeps your eyes moist.
- Easy to swap lens.
- You look rather silly wearing a pair of safety glasses and chilling out at your computer.
- No anti-reflective coating, anti-glare or anti-smudge treatments
- No support for prescription lenses.
- Aggressive amber tinting eliminates a lot of color perception.
Spektrum Prospek Dynamic Review
The Prospek Dynamic by Spektrum looks the part of a pair of professional office glasses and hides an eccentric amount of features under that façade. With superb lenses and great styling, the Dynamic can deliver on comfort and still look good if you wore them to the supermarket or office.
- Great design. Thoroughly appropriate for everyday use without worrying about people judging you. They’ll still judge everything else, just not the glasses.
- %50 blue light blocking gives you great comfort as well as a clear image.
- Scratch resistant, anti-glare, anti-reflective, anti-fog and fingerprint resistant coating on the lenses.
- “Anti-flicker” coating (I personally think that this is just a marketing ploy because I haven’t really found any substantial research to back it up, but I might be wrong).
- No support for prescription lenses.
- Build quality is rather average. Frame and temples are easily scratched or scuffed if stored in a pocket during your workday.
Spektrum Prospek Pro Clips Review
If you require a more portable solution to go with your prescription or reading glasses, Spektrum has you covered. Although Spektrum doesn’t offer prescription options with its lenses and frames, it’s created the “Clips” line of glasses to cater to people who need prescription glasses to see. The Pro Clips just simply clip on to the front of your everyday spectacles and offer a comfortable amount of blue light elimination.
- %40 tint is barely noticeable but still very comfortable for long hours of viewing.
- Easily portable.
- Metal bridge is very durable.
- Anti-flicker coating on lenses.
- A sturdy clip holds the lenses firmly in place over your glasses.
- No scratch-resistant, anti-glare, anti-fog or fingerprint-resistant coating. That last part is a real bummer, seeing as how you’ll spend most of your time handling it by holding the lenses.
- Not compatible with all types of glasses. Glasses with, at least, a top bar are required
- Looks rather silly if left clipped on to glasses.
Spektrum Prospek Elite Review
The Prospek Elite looks sleek enough to double as a pair of sunglasses. They’d make terrible sunglasses, of course; wearing them outside is rather pointless. Wearing them inside, on the other hand, if you aren’t on your computer, makes you look a bit like you’re trying to promote the next big progressive alt-electro band.
- %99 tints are aimed at competitive gamers who spend most of their day in front of a screen, practicing. You wouldn’t really care for visuals when your goal is the prime performance which comes from practice. The Prospek Elites let you rack up some serious hours of practice without feeling the eye strain kick in.
- Sturdy build. The frame is slightly flexible and looks like it could take a few good bumps without breaking.
- Anti-flicker coating.
- Comfortable to wear for long hours.
- With a %99 tint, any color that resides close to the blue side of the spectrum is going to appear rather dark, if not black. Color differentiation at this point will be tricky.
- The Elite doesn’t come with scratch, fog or oil-resistant coatings either.
- It’s not in your best interest to be seen wearing them in public.
Gunnar Glasses Review
From the name that put gaming glasses on the map, comes their latest mascot, boasting reworked iAMP lens tech that features a dual tint and blended contrast to provide the best of both worlds. The Valve carries Gunnar’s signature “alt” styling but still pulls off a very stylish look without coming off as odd.
- Dual, blended tints which offer a strong tint towards the top with a sharp gradient shifting towards a lighter tint at the bottom.
- Slight magnification to ease eye strain when reading or focusing on details.
- Solid build quality with contoured nylon frames and reinforced hinges make for a frame that will last.
- Scratch resistant, anti-glare and anti-reflection coatings on lenses.
- UV shielding on lenses, paired with the dual contrast tint, make the Valve great for outdoor use.
- Prescription lenses available.
- Prone to smudging and fingerprints. Lenses need to be wiped regularly as oil is very noticeable.
Gunner Scope Review
The Gunner Scope is the current embodiment of what made the first Gunners so great. They combined practicality with signature style and defined the e-sport/ pro-gaming look for an entire generation. The strong uniform tint serves no other purpose than that of a long session of intense competitive gaming or practice.
- Adjustable nose pads for a comfortable fit. One size fits all.
- Wide, wraparound profile with a contoured frame for a panoramic view and air isolation.
- Curved flexible temples keep the Scope locked firmly in place to account for quick head movements. Stays comfortably snug from the moment you put it on to the minute you take it off.
- Definitely looks the part of a pair of gaming glasses. Great styling.
- Single piece, the stainless steel frame is incredibly durable.
- Prescription lenses available.
- No scratch resistance or anti-glare, reflection, oil coatings.
- Single piece frame design eliminates portability and leaves lenses open to scuffing if stored incorrectly.
- Strong tint leaves little room for color diversity.
- A little pricey for the limited lens treatments and age of the design.
More on eye protection on Wikipedia