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There are a few different types of "computer glasses" available:

They seem to be designed for long gaming sessions. Seem a little silly, but thought I'd ask has anyone used them? Do you think they would aide in long coding marathons or reduce eye strain?

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While you are at it, get one of those too: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_foil_hat –  user281377 Jan 18 '11 at 11:50
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Its like a pair of glasses that do the same thing as changing your monitor settings. Not sure why one would need that. –  glenatron Jan 18 '11 at 15:30
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I love the fact that the product has "action shots" which are basically pictures of people staring at screens. Some new definition of action of which I was previously unaware... –  Jon Hopkins Jan 20 '11 at 10:19
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I think there's some merit to asking about tools that might help make people better programmers, but there's no value to asking the same question about different types of "computer glasses". Merged the two questions. –  user8 Jan 20 '11 at 20:21
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When you get old enough you will need computer glasses. –  user1249 Aug 10 '11 at 12:36

19 Answers 19

Nope

If you're on a marathon coding session, regular breaks away from the machine to allow thinking time are essential. Natty eyewear ranks way, way, down the list.

You gotta love their (surely unbiased) "proven" source for GUNNAR Opticks products:

Based on the results of GUNNAR Optiks’ Market Test questionnaires, conducted March – April, 2009.

In general, if a medical product says "clinically proven" on it then it has formal, peer reviewed medical research behind it. If it doesn't, well caveat emptor.

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These are almost certainly useless, and may even be worse than useless. Two of the major "selling" points from the Steelseries Scope site jump out at me:

I-AMP® LENSES
Enhance the properties of the human eye and its interaction with digital devices

This is pure marketing speak and therefore meaningless.

SHARPEN SIGHT
Enhance details for sharper, clearer vision

The lenses are slightly magnifying. If you don't need glasses this could end up causing eye-strain and headaches.

Steer well clear.

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+1 ...eye interaction with digital devices ??? LOL, I'm under my table if you need me. The image coming from the screen is purely analog. That's the worst example of marketing speak I've seen this year. –  sharptooth Jan 20 '11 at 14:09
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It's purely digital if you are counting photons! –  Martin Beckett Jan 16 '13 at 3:37

Based on my photography background, the only benefit I can legitimately see from these glasses is increased contrast. The slightly amber tint will block some blue light causing it to look darker to you, while white and amber will merge to the same color.

That said, you can have too much contrast. I've seen other products of this sort, and as @Gary Rowe said, caveat emptor.

To deal with marathon coding sessions, you need regular breaks for two reasons: you need time to digest what you are doing, and you need to give your eyes a break. The eyes will need to focus on things farther away than your screen to help them rest and refocus later.

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I don't know about specific 'computer glasses', but I wear regular glasses with an anti-glare lens coating designed for long computer use. Stopped my migraines.

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I don't wear regular glasses, but I'm looking for something that would reduce eye strain without reducing my screen time. Perhaps I'll ask an optometrist. –  configurator Jan 20 '11 at 1:04
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+1: Very interesting. I might have to take a look at getting that for my next pair. I have normal anti-reflective coating, is there a difference? –  Steve Evers Jan 20 '11 at 2:42

I would talk to an optometrist. I recently picked up glasses as well for computer use but through an optometrist.

I wouldn't recommend using something on your eyes for long periods without a professional opinion.

I think what you have in this link is a "fun" thing. Most things at Thinkgeek are =)

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When I wore contacts, computer glasses (via my optometrist) were the difference between a high-powered headache nearly every day, and not. I tested this with a high degree of consistency over about a decade.

But, strangely, having abandoned contacts and now wearing my normal corrective glasses I don't suffer from these headaches, despite being the same corrective power as my contacts. My glasses do not have an anti-glare coating.

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Better ask an optometrist, or buy and try them for yourself. This would most certainly differ from person to person, so better try it yourself.

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I have a pair specifically cut for the distance my monitors are normally positioned at. It makes a big difference--these are NOT reading glasses and I can barely read with them.

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The optometrist can easily set the focal distance to whatever distance you want. They do this normally with reading glasses--that's why they ask how far away you normally old reading material. It's just my pair is set for the distance I put my screens. –  Loren Pechtel Dec 15 '11 at 22:21
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@Mhambra: AFIAK how powerful your prescription is has no bearing on it. Basically all you're doing is altering the add-for-reading numbers, although with a single-vision pair that's simply rolled into the script and not expressed separately. –  Loren Pechtel Dec 17 '11 at 3:46

The difference between "computer glasses" and normal glasses is typically that computer glasses are a little less sharp since you're so close to the monitor. I can't answer to those glasses specifically but I would recommend using special glasses if you work long hours in front of the computer rather than normal glasses and lenses. Talk to your optometrist

Another "trick" for your eyes is to have your computer somewhere where you can look over the monitor and focus into the distance (optimally a window) with regular intervals, which helps eye strain as well

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Since you are talking about eye strain there are two things you may wish to try instead of glasses:

  1. Switch your display. Some people have experienced fatigue and eye strain problems with certain LCD panels, you can read about that in multiple forums out there

  2. Consider tweaking your color scheme. If you read black text from a white background, then this is very strong. I can't take it for instance. Use some darker lightly saturated color to drop contrast. This is how it looks at my side:

color scheme

The advantage of the second approach is that you can try it out immediately without the need for investment in those glasses or anything.

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White backgrounds are one of the worst things that have ever happened to the computer world. –  Lohoris Apr 11 '11 at 10:13
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White backgrounds come from paper. If you cannot stand the contrast and cannot turn down the power of the display, I suggest you look at surrounding light sources as they may be the one causing you not to be able to get a reasonable lightning directly. –  user1249 Aug 10 '11 at 12:41
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@Lohoris: Turning down the brightness is not a workaround, it is the correct way to set the monitor. Paper is bright too. The trick is that paper is always less bright than the surrounding room light. –  Zan Lynx Dec 5 '11 at 17:05
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@ZanLynx: paper shines of reflected light only, while the screen actually produces its own light. You can't treat them the same way. –  Lohoris Dec 5 '11 at 17:15
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@Lohoris: Production vs. reflection only matters for color reproduction. The total amount of light coming off the paper or an LCD screen can be the same amount. What then is the difference? There is no difference. –  Zan Lynx Dec 5 '11 at 17:41

As someone who actually has a pair (Gunnar Attache Phenoms,) and works a full time IT admin job, I believe I can answer the question for you. The answer is: They work for me, but YMMV.

My eyes would start aching after a few hours of looking at the LCD monitor I have at work. I tried all the recommended fixes: turning down the brightness, looking away for 15 seconds every 15 minutes (or whatever,) but my eyes still hurt, and would get really bloodshot. After I started using the Gunnars, my symptoms decreased by about 50-75%. In addition to using the glasses, getting a good night's sleep, and BLINKING (most important, my eye doctor tells me that the reason eyes get bloodshot is that our blinking reflex is retarded when we are looking at a screen.) keeps me from getting the eyestrain that I used to, even looking at a LCD screen for 10+ hours a day.

If this sounds like and advert for Gunnar, tough! I like mine and got a good deal at buy.com. The main downside is that they can make you look really, REALLY nerdy :P .

So be skeptical! I was, but I figured $50 was worth it if they worked.

Good luck!

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It does sound like an advert for Gunnar, but thanks for your input... I don't get the turning down the brightness bit... It only makes me strain even more to see the screen! –  configurator Jan 22 '11 at 1:38
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@mhambra, For me, they just work. As I said above, there are other factors to relieving eyestrain. I switched to using glasses instead of contacts for a while, and they seemed to be just as effective as the Gunnars. However I don't like wearing glasses all the time, and I enjoy the flexibility that comes from having a pair of "computer glasses." It is possible that a pair of dollar store glasses would work as well as a pair of Gunnars, but I haven't tried that. –  zinspire Nov 21 '11 at 17:11

I considered buying the Gunnar glasses once, but I don't think they would work particularly on me. I start seeing "double/ghost" if I focus too much on something for more than 2 hours, doesn't have to be a monitor screen, even a book will cause this, so it's not related to a light source. My condition is really annoying and doctors say it's muscle imbalance. Does anyone have this problem? If I take an hour nap or something like that it returns to normal.

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Alright, here's the deal. I've read through each of these posts and noticed that each one of you are basing your opinions on thoughts and logic, which i agree with in a sense. However, i've also noticed that people that have claimed to have tried these lenses before have something good to say about them. I have decided (since i suffer from migranes and have been asked by my GP to keep a log) that i am going to conduct a little experiment for all of you. And let you all know about the details within my log. How ofter these migranes come along, and how often they don't, And if they do or don't relate to eye strain. I have ordered a pair of these lenses, and i will let you all know how these lenses impact the frequency of my migranes and if these lenses have made any of kind of impact on the lengh of time i can stare at a computer screen without having to look away due to my lack of ability to withstand UV lights.

In addition to this, may i advise you NOT to pick them up from the high street. Make sure you get them from an optician. Your optician will decide of these lenses are suitable for you, just what you need and if they will help you. Plus they will give you the lenses with your prescription. Their are other reasons behind it. Look for more information on the internet. I am a bit iffy about these glasses aswell. but since i've already ordered them from my optician i guess i have no choice but to try them. I'll keep you all posted.

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I've very sensible eyes, I'm crying when I spend more than 1 mins in cigarette smoke, also, 30 mins of neon light makes me headache.

CRT: use glasses. Without glasses, I got headache after 5-6 hours, with glasses: 12+.

LCD: you may not use glasses. Use lower contrast and brightness, turn on a lamp around the monitor, etc.

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My optometrist prescribed a separate set of glasses for me for prolonged computer use, and it did help reduce eyestrain.

I am nearsighted (I see close things fine, far things less well, without my glasses) and have astigmatism. My regular glasses correct both. My computer glasses only address the astigmatism.

My optometrist said that since my regular glasses tweak my vision in order to see far well, my eyes have to compensate for that when looking at a near computer screen, which after a few hours can get tiring. So, we eliminated that component for my computing glasses, and it reduced the strain.

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Two years ago, I had fairly bad problems with my eyes at the office.

Last year, I was fine.

This year, I'm having some problems as winter approaches. I mention it to my office mate and he says, "Yeah, I should bring out my humidifier again".

If you have a recent distance between your eyes and take some breaks, I'd say that relative humidity is more of a fix than funky glasses and all.

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Well, just to stop storing this facts at different memory positions and make a decision:

  1. most computer glasses-related articles are coming back from old experience (say, 90's, CRTs, noisy office lights)

  2. There's antireflective and antiglare coatings, and they function differently but may be combined (thanks to SEO spammers, you'll never find a tech docs describing the difference); AR is for CRTs definitely and AG seems to be recommended for LCD users. in Russian language, AGs are called 'просветленные' (nearest meaning is 'transparent'; but also has a meaning of 'enlightened'); here's a rus. comment on that and it feels like the better loanword should be picked on that.

  3. color-toned glasses are worthless but stylish.

  4. (Thanks to Loren), it is known that glasses can be tweaked for certain distance for reading.

  5. It is also known from common knowledge (and, certainly, from [Instructables])2 that polarized glasses would make the image invisible unless you own an e-ink display; citing, "If you get prescription polarized sunglasses, they should work halfway, since polarized sunglasses are polarized horizontally, and almost all monitors are polarized 45 degrees from horizontal."; so unfortunately one pair of glasses couldn't be fit to both work and street. And if I have to buy a single pair, it'd rather be a good sunglasses (being all-in-one polarized, photochromatic, AG+AR) than a magic Gunnar thing composed of AR,AG, and other buzzwords.

Going to buy something, would report here after testing.

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I code, have a 60" TV that I game on and I have a home PC. The only time I am not in front of a PC is when I am driving between home and my job. I get headaches and eye strains from the TV. I take breaks of course, but because I game so much I naturally don't take enough breaks.

I kept seeing these glasses and decided to try them out. I figured why not? So I came back home, gamed and after about an hour or so I started getting the familiar eye strain. I paused the game, put my new glasses on and the filtering effect with the slight magnification instantly - and I mean instantly - appeased the eye strain and I gamed for 2 more hours without issue.

That was my experience. I took them to work to try them on the PC...meh, they were kinda hard to deal with. Other than that, money well spent on the gaming fatigue part.

Oh, and on my iPhone it also helps.

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I talked about computer glasses with my Optometrist and while not quite what these are, he described them as bifocals with a clear lens.

Basically he described them for people that look between the screen (where you don't need any magnification) and say a notepad, where you need reading zoom.

So they really won't help with long gaming sessions. I think the best is just to set the monitor at an appropriate distance. I found that I have to take my regular glasses off when I use the computer as I have gotten older.

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