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The Truth About “Gaming Glasses” (Do They Really Work?)

Written by Thao Tran
Last updated Jan 14, 2021

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It wasn’t long ago when it seemed like every other streamer or pro gamer had on a pair of yellow-lensed gaming glasses. Was that just your favorite player cashing in on a sponsorship deal? Maybe, but gaming glasses also provide more than monetary benefits to streamers. In this article, we cover the science behind gaming glasses and whether or not they’re worth purchasing.

What Do Gaming Glasses Do?

The truth about gaming glasses is they’re simply blue light blocking glasses designed for gamers. Their primary function is to mitigate the negative effects of all-day blue light exposure, a situation nearly everyone finds themselves in. We’ll explain.

mixing colors to make white

If you’re into RGB PC gear or are familiar with color theory, you’ll know that white is made by combining red, green, and blue. Since there is so much white light around us including the sun, fluorescent light bulbs, and the LEDs in our many digital screens, blue light is also ever-present in our lives.

What’s so bad about blue light? Optometrist Dr. Patricia Cisarik explains it succinctly.

“Timing is everything. We need exposure to some blue light in the mornings and early afternoons, but we require reduced exposure to blue light in the late afternoons and evenings.”

Blue light from the sun in the mornings suppresses melatonin and wakes us up, setting our circadian rhythms and promoting healthy sleep. But too much blue light exposure during the evening via gaming, TVs, and smartphones has a similar effect keeping us up and hinders sleep quality.

Guy that needs gaming glasses

That is where the gaming glasses come in. Multiple studies have shown that wearing blue light blocking glasses for a few hours before bedtime prevented light-induced melatonin suppression, led to significantly improved sleep quality, and thus, better overall health.

The eyewear industry also commonly claims that blue light blocking glasses help prevent retinal damage and eye strain. While no scientific research actually seems to support this, there are enough anecdotal success stories for glasses sellers to roll with it and for most optometrists to recommend trying them.

Optometrist Dr. Richard Savoy shared with us a similar sense of cautious optimism. “To be fair, some patients claim to notice a significant comfort increase with near work/reading when using blue blocking lenses. Some patients claim no difference when using blue-blocking lenses. It’s hard to prove one way or another.”

So, Are Gaming Glasses Worth It?

If you’re having trouble falling asleep or your eyes are hurting from using digital devices all day, we think trying out a pair of inexpensive blue light blocking glasses is worth a shot. Once you know if it works out for you, you can invest in a fancier frame.

Are blue light glasses specifically made for gamers worth it? We’ll explain their distinguishing features and let you decide.

First, let’s address the yellow lenses.

Early on, all blue light blocking glasses including “gaming glasses” had those distinct yellow or amber-tinted lenses. Health-conscious and sponsored consumers didn’t mind it, but its quirky appearance failed to attract a wide audience.

Its popularity shifted when manufacturers moved towards clearer-colored lenses (blocking less blue light while still beneficial) and branching out to more fashionable frame designs. Many prescription glasses providers also started giving the option to add blue light blocking to their lenses, further normalizing the offering.

Today, it’s largely up to you whether you want amber, yellow, or clear-ish lenses. While the tinted lenses block more blue light, the clearer versions still filter out a meaningful amount and look nearly indistinguishable from regular glasses.

Even though some providers seem to just slap on the term “gaming glasses” to ordinary frames they’d like to sell to gamers, certain companies do offer a couple of unique selling points. Gaming glasses brands now often collaborate with esports leagues, teams, and game publishers to produce co-branded frames. These might appeal to you if you want to protect their eyes while supporting your favorite gaming brand.

Certain gaming glasses frames also have a functional design feature worth considering: headset compatibility. In our search to find the best gaming glasses on the market, we found thinner, flatter temple arms to be key for comfort when worn with a gaming headset. The many other marketed features like anti-glare and scratch resistance were not unique to “gaming glasses”.

In summary, if you often game with a headset or headphones and find a particular frame you fancy, we do think it’s worth getting gaming glasses over general blue light blocking glasses. If you’re not a headset gamer and would prefer more fashionable frames, the world is your oyster. Watch out for our upcoming roundup review on the best gaming glasses for product recommendations.

Gaming Glasses Are Damage Control

If your work and hobbies set you in front of a digital screen for the majority of the day, gaming glasses are one way to mitigate the damage. But they’re only one piece of the puzzle. Dr. Cisarik recommends using blue light blocking glasses in combination with turning down your screen brightness and using the “night mode” settings on your devices.

We’ll cover a more comprehensive approach to relieving video game eye strain in a future article.

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