Short Version: Gunnar’s “MLG Legend” glasses are a good choice for gamers and workers alike who suffer from eye problems created from staring at a screen for long periods of time. While the thought of wearing specialty glasses with amber lenses in front of a computer or TV screen may seem pretentious to some, the benefits of these glasses outweigh the possibility of any social backlash. The price point of $99.00 is reasonable, and the durability of these glasses is remarkable given their lightweight design.
A few months ago I started having vision problems. My eyes would get tired, my long distance vision would get blurry for what I thought was no apparent reason, and whenever these symptoms occurred I would have short but very painful headaches. At first I thought that my vision was just starting to deteriorate and that all I needed was to finally get some prescription glasses. It seemed odd though, that my problems would come and go, rather than being constant. Then I came across an ad on a gaming website for these special glasses which were constructed for those with problems like mine. Turns out staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day and then going home and playing video games for another few is really bad for your eyes. Who would have thought?
I reached out to Gunnar, the maker of these glasses and they sent me their special MLG edition eye-ware since I am a self-professed gamer. This pair, other than its appearance, is no different from Gunnar’s other line of products. The chrome frame, light amber lens, and aviator style give them a pretty sleek look. The glasses are also very light which makes wearing them comfortable. They have the Major League Gaming logo right by the lens, as they are a preferred partner of the competitive gaming league. These glasses do however seem to sit higher up on the face than normal (sun)glasses. This is slightly annoying as I think they look a bit awkward because of this, but who knows, maybe I just have a oddly shaped face. This minor problem notwithstanding, after about a week of wearing these, my problems went away. No more headaches, and no more blurry vision. I was hooked.
These glasses are great for those who stare at a computer screen for hours a day, but even better for those who game heavily. Through independent research, it was found that many gamers go up to three entire minutes without blinking, and the blink rate of an individual can go down to nearly twenty percent of normal blinking whilst playing video games. Try going three minutes right now without blinking, and then do that consistently for hours on end, daily. It’s obviously not something you want to have happen as it compromises eye integrity.
I was worried about wearing these with my headset as I didn’t want the headset to push the frames into the side of my head, which would obviously cause at the very least, slight pain. However, the slim chrome frames are perfect for those like me who game with a headset. My Astro A40′s fit perfectly over my Gunnars with no discomfort whatsoever.
The proprietary technology used in these glasses works by bending light from screens before it hits your eyes, letting your eye muscles relax: thus reducing strain. Given the amber lens tinting, colors are distorted to a small degree. You won’t see true colors, but this is because the Gunnars screen out the harmful portions of the light spectrum (Gunnar VP of Marketing Mark McNabb told me that they have clear lenses as well for those who do graphic design). There is also what i like to call a “magnifying effect” when wearing these glasses. I play my video games on a 22″ 1080p LCD tv, and when playing, the screen seemed a few inches larger. Again, this is due to the filtering properties of the glasses. To be honest, given the screens that I stare at all day, this is a welcome side effect. The images you look at are also much sharper than without them. This, other than not having blurry vision and headaches is their biggest attribute. Playing Assassin’s Creed 2 while wearing these glasses was quite a treat.
As with all glasses, smudging and fingerprints are always bothersome. The oleophobic coating on the lenses help to mitigate these nuisances. I’d say that within a week of intensive wear, I only have to wipe off the lenses about 2-3 times.
The durability of these glasses is what surprised me the most. When I’m not wearing the Gunnars, they are usually perched upon my hat. More than once they have dropped the six feet from my hat to the ground and have withstood the barrage. I did a drop test here at the TechCrunch Headquarters from above my head onto the ground, adding another two feet, and they once again withstood the fall. The glasses come with a padded plastic case in order to ensure that they do not get dirty or broken when not being worn.
These glasses are designed for those with 20/20 or corrective vision (including those with contacts). However, if you do not have perfect vision, Gunnars can be made to work for you. Simply talk to your optometrist and have your Gunnars specified to your vision specifications.
Many pro gamers use these glasses and swear by them. I wore them, and while they won’t make me go pro by simply wearing them, they sure did make the experience more enjoyable. The glasses cost $99 and given the improvements they’ve made for me, I would recommend giving them a try.
Product Page: Gunnar Optiks MLG Legend Glasses