It’s long been known that sitting in front of a screen for hours on end does you no good. Back in the day you would have been told you’d get square-eyes, but really, it’s more serious than that. Yes, you may be able to hone your Fortnite skills, and you may be able to take first place in Forza by sitting glued to a game, but the screen you are staring at for hours on end isn’t likely to be doing you – or your eyesight – any real favours.
Much of the reason behind this is the emittance of artificial blue light – a light hue that has, in some circles, been talked of in regards to the disruption of sleep patterns and longer term effects that could well cause vision problems. I’m no doctor, but I am a gamer, and I also spend a silly amount of hours each and every day stuck in front of a laptop. So as gamers, and as a generation of folk who take in an ever increasing amount of time in front of a screen – whether that be via TV, laptop or mobile device – it would therefore make complete and utter sense to try and reduce the intake of blue light where possible, if only to ease any concerns that may arise from the multitude of reading materials that are available on the ‘blue light’ subject.
I tend to not get all caught up in scare stories, but with your mobile device already set up to help with this via a ‘Night Light’ mode in place, something which turns your screen amber between sunset and sunrise, chances are there are cleverer people than me that know what they are talking about. And if they think it’s a big deal, it’s probably worth a little consideration.
But whilst setting your phone to help out is all well and good, how do you solve the conundrum of continuing to game on Xbox, PC, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch without fear of similar disruption? Well, you remove the blue light coming from your PC or TV screen as best you can. And that is where GUNNAR come in with their new Lightning Bolt 360 gaming glasses.
The Lightning Bolt 360 is GUNNAR’s latest generation of elite gaming glasses; glasses that bring together all manner of technology to improve your gaming performance, reduce any digital eye strain, minimize screen glare and prevent dry eyes. Most importantly though, the Lightning Bolt 360 is able to block out that artificial blue light we hear so much of, and that in turn should allow for a better sleep pattern. And I don’t know about you, but from where I’m sitting, sleep is a good thing.
However, GUNNAR also understand that customisation and personalisation is a big part of any gamer’s life, and there is so much included in the Lightning Bolt 360 box that you can be sure the glasses you are found wearing will be the glasses you want to wear, fitting any player in the process.
So, marketing speak time and ‘GUNNAR is the only patented gaming and computer eyewear recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision (Patented Lens #9417460)’. I’ll be honest, this is quite a big deal, especially as I’m someone who needs to wear prescription glasses just in order to be able to read a screen. Any form of enhancement and protection is much appreciated.
It’s helped by the fact that GUNNAR don’t only deal with standard natural lenses either, as they also run a number of power ratings. These come in a variety of forms, with the GUNNAR-Focus running at a .2 power level to aid with natural focusing at close distance, whilst the Reading Glasses level of 1.0-3.0 will help for those who struggle with text. The set that GUNNAR have kindly sent my way though have been created specifically for me, from my own optical prescription. Due to situations that I won’t bore you with, this is a highly specific, pretty unique prescription and on the face of it that should mean, whatever your prescribed glasses level, GUNNAR are able to work with it. I’ve previously found that some opticians haven’t been able to cater for my own required prescription level and spectacle style, but that hasn’t been the case here at all. That in itself is a godsend.
What else is great is the fact that the Lightning Bolt 360 is a superb looking product. Of course this is going to differ for every man, woman and child out there, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’ve been instantly drawn to the sports look and slight wrap-around style that has been implemented here. A lightweight, full, sturdy, black outer frame hold the lenses in place, whilst the signature ‘Lightning Bolt’-styled arms are a joy. This sharp design with red detailing and grip ensures that temple pressure is kept at a minimum, especially when wearing a set of hefty audio cans like the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One over the top. Personally, I’ve found this style to be a perfect fit for my lifestyle, whilst working a gaming session, hunkering down to work, or when out and about town. They won’t be for everyone, and those who prefer to find their spectacles minimal and frameless will no doubt hate the brash style these deliver. But for everyone else – read: me – they are spot on.
Better still is the fact that the level of customisation of the frame is pretty damn great. In the box, you’ll find three different sizes of nose bridge, each of which is a cinch to put on or take off, ensuring that fitment across the bridge of your nose should be on point. And then alongside the ‘Classic’ Lightning Bolt arms comes a more discreet ‘Post’ option and a full adjustable strap – something which is nigh on perfect for anyone wearing these during high intensity sports. Honestly, I again prefer the ‘Classic’ as it provides a style I’m super comfortable with, but the ease in switching out the arms is so great that should you wish to change them on a daily basis, it would be more than possible.
The lenses themselves are also changeable, with four options available, each of which comes with a unique Blue Light Protection Factor (BLPF) – think something similar to your Sun Protection Factor for your skin, but for your eyes and you’ll be somewhere near. The ‘clear’ option runs at just a mere 35 BLPF and is the most discreet option available, whilst the Amber pops up with a level at 65 BLPF. It is this that I have found most agreeable, providing an optimal balance between blue light protection and everyday performance. In the days that I’ve been wearing the Lightning Bolt 360s exclusively, I’ve found this lens to be almost perfect. Yes, it’s a little strange at first to discover such a blocking of blue light, and if you’re a colour addict who is found colour correcting everything in your life, you’re not going to want these, but on the whole it doesn’t take too long to realise just how much blue light these lenses are killing. In my um… eyes… that’s a great thing.
In the box also comes a ‘Sun’ lens tint that runs at a massive 80 BLPF. This is sold on the back of being perfect for those looking for protection from digital screens whilst working outside, and they really could be a useful addition to anyone looking for a new set of sunnies. There is also a greater option available from GUNNAR – Amber Max and its 98 BLPF. If you’re super sensitive to light, or found working at night and need to give your eyes a rest, these are the ones for you.
Each and every lens pops in and out of the Lightning Bolt 360 with relative ease – at least once you’ve worked out the process. By simply removing the nose bridge, and then popping one lens out to replace it with another, it’s an easy enough process, especially once you’ve done it a few times and things start to loosen up a bit. Yeah, you may initially think you’re going to break something, but as with anything, hit it up once or twice and those worries soon ease. The Lightning Bolt frame is reasonably flexible to accommodate for the changing too. It is here though where my only issue with the Lightning Bolt 360s occurs – this need to change the lens when you go out in the sun. I don’t have the time or patience in my life to spend a couple of minutes changing from amber to sun lens every time I wish to go for a walk. It’s just a bit of a pain and the reason why for the last god-knows-how-many years I’ve preferred glasses that are photochromic, adjusting to the sun as you walk out of the door.
Also in the box comes a rather nifty glasses bag, an all-important microfibre cloth – which you’ll need once you get your grubby mitts on the changeable lenses – and a hard-cased locker to store all the relevant bits and bobs. Credit to GUNNAR for providing such a neat system and storage option.
So, at the end of the day, would I recommend the GUNNAR Lightning Bolt 360 gaming glasses? Well, I think the fact that I’ve happily replaced my trusty Oakley prescription spectacles with these for in-house/in-work use says a lot. I’ve been massively impressed with the style, the feel, the fit and the ease in which customisation can take hold. The fact that I’ve developed a new-found love for less blue light in my life is another massive positive – I’ve been shocked at how much the amber lens has cleared from my mind.
However, as much as I wish I could, I don’t spend my entire life indoors, and I really do miss my photochromic lenses that are attached to my Oakleys. And so these are kept to hand for times when I venture out into the sun – although admittedly, I live in the UK and that is usually in scarce supply. If this instant-change of the lens was an option to take up with the GUNNAR Lightning Bolt 360s, they’d easily be my new everyday wears – both in and out of the house, 24/7.
Massive thanks go out to GUNNAR for providing a set of their Lightning Bolt 360 glasses with prescription lenses for review. If you wish to pick up a set for yourself, head straight to GUNNAR direct.