Tired, Sore Eyes? Enter: Gunnar Optiks Intercept

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Tired, Sore Eyes? Enter: Gunnar Optiks Intercept

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I work in front of screens. A lot! Not only do I work on the social/web team here at FOX, but I edit video as well. A lot of my non-profit work is done via social channels as well when I get home from work at night, so I'm no stranger to eye fatigue. It is with that in mind that I've been very interested for some time in checking out the computer specific eyewear from the folks at Gunnar Optiks. I met them this year at CES and was introduced to their new line of Intercept frames which are a departure from their previous lines in that they come in vibrant, thick frames. I have a big head, big frames work for me, it was kismet but would my eyes revel in this serendipitous confluence of events? Read on to find out.

 

Framing The Review

Other than the Haus, which is available in Tortoise, and their SteelSeries Desmo, which is available in orange, Gunnar's frames tend to be an understated affair mostly made from various metals. Don't get me wrong, they have some very good looking frames but this latest line introduces a very youthful, vibrant set of frames which I think broadens the appeal of their highly functional lenses. The intercept frames are made from a light (35 grams) injection polymer, though "light" is relative here as their lightest pair of glasses, the Phenoms, weigh in at only 15 grams. What I can tell you is that after hours of wear, I still don't notice I have these on my face. Maybe it's because I actually wear glasses for driving at night and I'm somewhat used to wearing them, or it could be the design of these flame red frames. The lens height is 41mm with the "eye holes" measuring a large 59mm so the frames seemingly melt into your field of view with only the lenses, or the amber coating on the lenses, visible. During wear, I can pick up a hint of the frames in my peripheral vision, but it is unobtrusive.

Anyone who has worn glasses for extended periods of time has dealt with a couple issues. Often, the nose rests can leave marks on the bridge of your nose and become somewhat uncomfortable after a time and the temples, the part that holds the frames on your face and goes over your ears, can dig into the sides of your head. With the Intercepts I've experienced only one of those side-effects of wear, the temples digging in. I don't think many people will have a problem with this though as, like I stated earlier, I have a hard time finding hats in my size. Most of you with relatively normal head sizes should be fine. I also think that after a time the dig in my temples will subside as the multi-barrel hinges loosen up a bit… if they loosen up a bit.

 

A Sight For Sore Eyes

While frame wear has been enjoyable and I can't tell you how many compliments I've actually received while wearing these bright red frames, it really is the lenses that are the star of the show. I'll get this out of the way right off the bat, these frames and lenses were literally a sight for sore eyes! I noticed a difference in eye strain within the first 20 minutes of wear in my work environment. I've included some images of my work environment in the gallery above so you have an idea of what my lighting looks like. Sometimes I'm in the ideal lighting conditions of a high-end edit bay, at other times, sitting in front of three or four computer monitors and televisions and sometimes just my laptop. The place I've spent much of my work days lately has been in front of four monitors in our geek den, aka the web team office. Two of the four monitors have a fluorescent "under cabinet" light above them, one of the the monitors on the far right  has that same kind of fluorescent light hanging off it's right edge and the monitor I look at most is in a black hole so to speak. There's no light behind or above it. Just the bright screen, which I've turned down, blasting at my face. What makes these lenses unique and the reason I felt immediate relief is their coating and the fact they actually have a low power magnification built in. The Intercept line comes with Gunnar's amber tinted lenses, similar to shooting glasses, which filter out some wavelengths of artificial light and improve contrast. I calibrate my monitors pretty well so contrast isn't that huge an issue but I hate fluorescent lighting so anything which can dull the effects of these horrid tube lights is a welcome addition to my day. I can tell you that what it ultimately did was make my screens seem "warmer" and multiple people around the newsroom made the same unsolicited observation when I gave them the glasses to wear for a bit. Gunnar also places anti-reflective coatings on both sides of the lens to help with light reflection from your monitors and your eyes. Many glass wearers may have experience with having anti-reflective coatings on their lenses but where Gunnar apparently differs is that those prescription lenses generally have that coating only on the outside of the lens and not the inside. Gunnar also claims to have a proprietary shape which is a wrap-around affair they claim protects your eyes from drying air current which may irritate them. In most of the places I sit and do my work there are no vents immediately above me so this isn't an issue I've dealt with that I can add any intelligent commentary or insight to.

 

The Bottomline

I've really enjoyed wearing the Gunnar Intercept glasses because they've made a noticeable difference in the amount of eye strain and eye fatigue I experience due to the hours and hours I spend in front of various monitors. The frames look great, people compliment them all the time and they're very comfortable. If you're the kind of person who enjoys a frame that stands out and is on the large side then you will probably love these. Currently the Intercepts are available in a few different colors and lens options. You can pick up a pair in the following colors: Fire, Cobalt (blue), Kryptonite (neon green), Ink (deep purple), Ghost which is a white-ish, semi translucent color and Onyx. In terms of lens options, you can get their regular lenses which include the built-in features I've outlined above or choose from the Standard and Premium prescription lens options which include Gunnar's features and may be subsidized by your health care provider if you use VSP, Vision Care, EyeMed or DavisVision Insurance Plans. The Standard prescription option feature lenses which use analog grinding technology, while the Premium option uses Carl Zeiss lenses with robotic grinding technology to customize the prescription. They also toss in what they call Pure Coat which is a multi-layer anti-reflective and anti-static property with a hard coat for those of you who are rough on your gear.

In the end, I'd definitely recommend these to people who spend ridiculous amounts of time in front of digital screens or those who just find themselves with tired, fatigued eyes at the end of the day. Beginning at $69 for the Intercepts with non-prescription lenses, they are definitely affordable.

 

Full disclosure: Gunnar Optiks provided me with a demo pair of Intercept glasses for the purpose of this review.

Tshaka Armstrong Tech Ninja Tshaka Armstong writes about the latest technology and helping FOX 11 Viewers understand how to be safer, smarter users of the internet and their "gadgets. He's also one of our social media guys, helping guide the station's online efforts and social media outreach.
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