Digital Eye Strain and Blue Light Effects On Health - GUNNAR

Nearsighted Vs Farsighted Vision

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Do you know the difference between nearsighted and farsighted vision? Honestly, I haven’t always known the difference. Which one means when you can see things from afar? What about when you can see them up close? The names help somewhat, once you know the definitions at least. When first read, however, those names need explanation.

what is nearsighted vision

The Difference

The names of the two refer to when the sufferer sees well.

  1. What is Farsighted Vision?: Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a condition in which the sufferer sees well far off and poorly up close.
  2. What is Nearsighted Vision?: Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a condition in which the sufferer sees well up close and poorly far off.

Normal vision, nearsightedness, and farsightedness explained

The Science

Medlineplus.gov lays out three ways the eye interacts with lights and images.

  • Normal Vision: Light focuses directly on the retina, neither in front of or behind it.
  • Farsighted Vision: Light and visual image focuses behind the retina. The eye of a farsighted individual is shorter than normal.
  • Nearsighted Vision: Light and visual image focuses in front of the retina. The eye of a nearsighted individual is stretched longer than normal.

Stated altogether, normal vision’s retina interacts normally and directly with light; farsighted and nearsighted vision’s retinas interact abnormally and indirectly with light. When the eye interacts with light normally there’s no issue with blurring. When the eye interacts with light abnormally it causes blurring either from afar or up close, depending on where the interaction takes place.

The Cause

The exact cause of either condition has not been completely discovered. Some theories and scientifically supported contributing factors, however, are accepted.

  • Genetic: For both nearsighted and farsighted, the most common cause is genetic. Through a series of genetic factors, a child receives from its parents a predisposition for farsightedness. The genes for each have, to some extent, been identified. Genetic treatment for either condition, however, still does not exist.
  • Environmental: While likely also the case for farsightedness, environmental factors have been proven in studies for nearsightedness. For example, close up reading, frequent use of personal electronic devices, and similar activities requiring your eyes to focus up close for a long period of time.

what is farsighted vision

The Solutions

  • Corrective Lenses: Obviously the type of lenses in both cases differ, but corrective lenses make these conditions manageable. Many individuals live much of their lives with eye problems managed with glasses or contacts. Most anyone suffering from one of these issues can use glasses to correct it.
  • Lasik Surgery: Corrective laser eye surgery, typically Lasik brand, is available in many cases. This surgery physically corrects the disorder causing the visual problem.

Eye problems, particularly myopia, have been linked to blue light exposure from digital devices. Even beyond this connection, myopia has simply increased over time. The eye issues arising from blue light are well noted. If you’re concerned about your eye health (given your presence on this blog post, we can assume you are), then you should learn more today. Find out what blue light is, and what it does to your eyes. 

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12 Signs that You Might Need Glasses

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If you’ve ever asked yourself “do I need glasses?” then this post is for you. If just a passing curiosity, or a serious thought you’ve had for a long time, learning the signs that you might need glasses will help you. Whether this post gives you peace of mind or prompts you to make an eye appointment, you’re in the right place. Learn how to tell if you need glasses today. Whether you need them or not you’ll know the signs if you happen to need them in the future. So regardless of why you came to this post, helpful knowledge awaits you!

do I need glasses

Signs That You Might Need Glasses

It should go without saying, consulting an optometrist is the only way to know for sure if you need glasses. However, before you make that appointment, these signs can help you decide. We’ve assembled a list of common signs cited by optometrists as hints that you might need glasses.

  • Nearsightedness

    Myopia, or difficulty seeing objects at a distance, is a common condition suffered by those needing prescription lenses. If you experience persistent nearsightedness, schedule an eye appointment.

  • Farsightedness

    This is the opposite of nearsightedness, i.e. difficulty seeing objects up close. More typical in middle-aged and older individuals, reading trouble usually indicates the problem. If you feel the need to hold a book or phone further and further from your eyes to read it, you might have farsightedness.

  • Prebyopia

    Generalized loss of near focusing ability that happens to most everyone at 40 and over.

  • Cataracts

    If you experience the foggy vision and spotting associated with cataracts, glasses won’t cut it. You’ll need surgery to fix it. Cataracts are common for people over the age of 40.

    signs you need glasses

  • Computer Vision Syndrome

    Something we know quite a bit about, computer vision syndrome, if the symptoms are persistent and common, can be a sign you need glasses. Many people experience the symptoms of CVS regularly, but some get hit harder. Learn the symptoms and consult with a doctor if you worry you might need glasses.

  • Night Vision

    Decreased night vision, although often overlooked, may signal the need for glasses. If at night things you once could confidently see now seem to fade into the black, consider talking to an eye doctor about glasses.

  • Light to Dark Transitions

Again, hard transitions from dark to light (and vice versa) don’t immediately make the sufferer consider glasses. However, if you struggle in this way, you may need them!

  • Seeing Halo’s

Seeing light colored “halo’s” might indicate the development of cataracts, or a night vision issue.

how to know if you need glasses

  • Persistent Blurred Vision

    Blurred vision does not, by itself, mean you need glasses. That said, if your blurry eyes persist beyond a reasonable amount of time, you might need glasses.

  • Double or Wavy Vision

    If you regularly experience this unsettling visual difficulty, you may need glasses.

  • Squinting

    Squinting to see more clearly typically signals an eye problem. Some glasses wearers report slightly improved vision when squinting without their glasses.

  • Headaches

    Just like blurred vision, headaches don’t automatically mean you need glasses. However, some people have simply learned to live with their eye problems, and don’t notice them. In these cases, persistent headaches often seem the only noticeable symptom.

    how to tell if you need glasses

Staying Informed

These signs help answer the problem of how to know if you need glasses. However, this list is only a start. If you read this and feel you need to learn more, now’s the time. Read a comparison of nearsightedness and farsightedness. You won’t regret it.

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What Causes Blurred Vision and How To Deal With It

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One day after class, I was walking to my car when I realized I could not see clearly. It was surreal, honestly, because nothing else seemed wrong, just all of a sudden my vision blurred. I tried to refocus my eyes by rubbing them, blinking repeatedly, looking slowly at different objects, but nothing worked. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Then, just as soon as it came, it went away. The experience of blurred vision, as I can personally attest, is unsettling, not to mention inconvenient (I couldn’t exactly drive home in that condition, now could I?). Understanding the cause of blurry vision, as well as some solutions to the problem would have helped me. And so, today I’m going to run down some of the causes of and solutions for blurred vision.

blurred vision

What Causes Blurred Vision?

In the grand scheme of things, blurred vision can come from a bevy of serious disorders. For example, diabetes, cataracts, and migraines all list blurred vision as a possible symptom. And, of course, eyeglass users know that blurred vision can be a persistent condition when corrective lenses are not properly applied. If you have trouble seeing, regularly, up close it’s called hyperopia, or farsightedness. For those who have trouble seeing from afar it’s called myopia, or nearsightedness. For generalized blurriness the cause is often astigmatism.

If you read that list and started to freak out a little, don’t worry, unless you have several of the other symptoms associated with those conditions, they probably aren’t the cause of your blurred vision. In the short term, the question of blurred vision boils down to environmental factors. For example, the day my vision blurred after class, I traced the source back to a long stint in front of my computer. Two continuous four-hour blocks to be exact. For most people today blurred vision comes from excessive use of technology. If not a symptom of a larger medical issue like those listed above, your blurry eyes likely traces back to your screens.

blurred vision causes

Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain (DES) is a set of symptoms, including blurry vision, which follow from extended consecutive use of digital screens. Along with blurred vision most experience headaches, and many experience some combination of eye pain, neck pain, and fatigue. Essentially, you may find yourself, after spending a long time in front of screens, experiencing blurred vision and headache. The cause of digital eye strain is largely the blue light emitted by your digital device screens, in conjunction with the constant imperceptible flicker. These combined factors, themselves, cause strain. Add to this the fact that you can’t help but blink less and open your eyes wider when you use your devices. Put all of this together, and you have a recipe for eye trouble.

How to Prevent Blurred Vision

Perhaps you found this blog because you wanted to know the cause of your blurred vision. Hopefully, the information so far has helped you figure that much out. Now we offer some solutions to the common digital cause of blurred vision. Once your eyes become blurry, don’t worry. Give it some time and they’ll go back to normal (if they do not, call your eye doctor). To prevent them from becoming blurry to begin with, try the following.

  • 20-20-20 Rule: Anyone can do this, and everyone should. Any time you plan to use digital screens for an extended period of time make sure to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 or more seconds every 20 minutes. This practice prevents eye strain and blurred vision by breaking your focus on screens regularly.
  • Digital Fast: If you frequently experience blurred vision, taking the opportunity to step away from technology for 24 or more hours allows you to reset. Not everyone can afford, or want, to do this, but those who can really should.
  • Blue Light Blocking Glasses: Maintaining productivity while preventing further eye damage is tough. Luckily, computer glasses that block blue light offer a workable solution. These glasses help your eyes relax and blocks the blue light that leads to DES. You can stay on your device longer without feeling the negative effects.

what causes blurred vision

As someone who has experienced it, believe me, I know that blurred vision can be upsetting. The solutions mentioned in this post offer some easy things you can do every day to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you’re serious about protecting your eyes now, and for the future, learn more today about blue light blocking glasses.

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Are Video Games Good For You?

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From the most avid gamer to the most careful parent, everyone worries about the possible negative effects of video games. Of course, such concerns are not unfounded. Research shows that gaming in excess, or when done carelessly, might prove harmful. However, benefits come with the potential risks involved in gaming.

are video games good for you

The Benefits of Gaming

Given the skillset required for and improved by video games, unsurprisingly, gaming primarily benefits the brain. Gaming offers extensive cognitive benefits to the careful gamer. Today we delve into just three of the benefits of moderate gaming.

Memory and Attention

Gamers often get a bad rap for poor attention spans and weak memories. However, studies show that the average gamer has a better memory and attention span than the average non-gamer. Much of gaming requires paying attention to and remembering many details. Without memory, the gamer will be ineffective in their task. Without careful attention to detail, the gamer won’t even know the details they need to remember.

Problem-Solving

While certainly classed in the broad category “nerd,” gamers seldom receive the assumption of intelligence of most other nerds. Anyone who has played a first-person RPG like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild knows that it takes more brains than most assume. Strategizing while gaming requires a keen ability to see a problem, conceive a solution, and execute it, all on the fly and under time pressure. Furthermore, games like Minecraft teach spacial reasoning, and mechanical problem solving. These reasonable conclusions are supported by the data. 

Coordination

As if it weren’t obvious, gaming improves eye-hand coordination. The necessity of fast action with the hands combined with instant processing with the eyes combine to make gamers very coordinated and quick. Again, studies back up this common-sense idea.

Check out this infographic for even more great info on the benefits of gaming.

health benefits of gaming

The Risks of Gaming

Without moderation, and preventative measures, all good things can lead to problems. Video games have numerous benefits, but risks come along with the territory. Below we cover just three of these.

Addiction

Drug addiction comes about because of the dopamine release drugs cause. Video games cause similar chemical reactions in the brain. The satisfaction of solving a problem, beating a level, winning a round, building a structure, or other goals associated with gaming, releases dopamine just like a drug. In life, those chemicals only come sometimes, and not usually on demand. In gaming, it seems they come every time we reach a goal. Thus, video game addiction comes about. The risk is not as severe as it seems in the media, which often publishes overblown statistics and scare tactics. However, it exists, especially for serious gamers. Keep informed on the facts about addiction, and practice moderation and caution in your gaming habits.

Sleep Problems

Many gamers complain of sleep problems after gaming for 3 or more consecutive hours. As a matter of fact, this issue plagues almost anyone who engages in such prolonged use of any digital devices with screens, especially near bedtime. Cautionary measures can be taken to prevent this, nevertheless, such sleep issues come along with the territory if gamers aren’t careful about their consumption levels and times.

Digital Eye Strain

Just like in the previous issue, many gamers find that they experience the symptoms of digital eye strain after gaming for 3 or more hours. For some, the symptoms continue well after they stop gaming. Dry eyes, headache, eye pain, and more can all come about from excessive gaming. Some more sensitive individuals even get the symptoms after only a short time playing games.

how do video games affect the brain

Staying in the Know

Receiving the benefits and avoiding the risks involved with gaming should be on the mind of everyone who plays video games with any regularity. Aside from simply being aware of the problems, it’s best to dive into the deeper cause behind the risks. Educate yourself today about the cause of two of the risks listed above: blue light exposure.

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Do Blue Light Blocking Glasses Really Work?

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We all have that one friend who swears by their blue-light blocking glasses. They may claim to sleep better, have reduced migraines, increased attention or feel an overall improvement in wellness. But what does the science say? Do blue light blocking glasses actually work? This article overviews several of many scientific studies delving into the issue. All studies described below are peer-reviewed and include control groups. All were published in 2019.

do blue light glasses work

Improvement of Sleep

In a study published by Scientific Reports researchers studied how blue light specifically affected the sleep of those who work early morning hours. The scientists exposed 18 individuals to three different types of light, at different hours, with and without blue-light blocking glasses. The researchers then assessed alertness, cognition and mood throughout the night. The scientists found that the blue light glasses helped especially in the early morning hours. If an individual struggled sleeping after working on a computer all night, using the glasses significantly improved the ability to fall asleep between the hours of 5 am to 7 am.

Another study in the Netherlands studied the effects of blue-light blocking glasses on 12-17 year old Dutch teenagers who frequently use screens. The study measured the sleep of each individual after

  1. Normal screen use
  2. Wearing blue light glasses
  3. Completely refraining from screen use

And the conclusion of the study? “Blue light blocking glasses as well as refraining from screen use induced an earlier mid-point of sleep compared to habitual screen use. Both interventions restored sleep times of frequent [screen] users to around those of infrequent users.” In other words,

are blue light glasses worth it

Better Brain Function

A study that took place in Cambridge studied the effect of blue-light blocking glasses on those who struggle with insomnia. After randomly assigning participants to either a placebo or regular blue-light blocking glasses, scientists found that the same individuals achieved significantly better scores on memory and pattern tests.

Scientific evidence not only shows improved brain function for individuals suffering from insomnia, but similar results have been found for adolescents, as illustrated in a similar study.

Increased Overall Health

In another study, researchers tested seven different types of blue-light blocking glasses. While there was a significant difference in how some brands performed over others, blue light blocking glasses “were found to reduce blue light by 6-43%.” Basically, scientists found that blue-light blocking glasses offer significant protection from screens

what do blue light glasses do

Finally, in one unique study, scientists extracted eye cells from human eyes. They then exposed some of the eye cells directly to blue light, some eye cells had a UV blocking shade, and some had a blue light blocking shades. The scientists then looked at the human eye cells in a microscope to see how light affected the eye cells. After exposing the cells directly to the light for just three minutes, healthy cells decreased by 50%! But, those with blue-light blocking shades only had a 15% reduction overall. Researchers concluded, “we recommend blue light protection to maintain ocular health, especially in high-risk populations, such as people with dry eye, contact les users, the malnourished and the elderly.”

Conclusion

The scientific evidence overwhelmingly concludes that blue-light blocking glasses improve cognitive function, sleep quality and overall health. Learn more today about the blue light blocking benefits of our patented lens technology.

 

 

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Wondering Why Your Eyes Hurt? We Have the Answer

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If you’re reading this, then apparently you regularly use electronic devices. Nothing else adequately explains not only your presence on the internet, but on this blog in particular. One other thing that likely brought you here? Your eyes hurt or feel tired all the time. Digital eye strain (DES), also known as computer vision syndrome (CVS) stands as a likely cause.

eyes hurt and feel heavy all the time

Causes of Digital Eye Strain

If, as we guessed earlier, you regularly spend significant chunks of time using digital devices, you’ve found the likeliest culprit. DES stems from spending time with screens. Really, no “magic number” exists which you can apply, and effectively avoid the symptoms of DES. If you use screens, and you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms outlined below, you’re experiencing DES.

The “why” behind it all complicates the situation a bit. The short answer? Blue light. The slightly longer answer? Blue light occupies the part of the light spectrum tied to your sleep cycle. Whether your case of DES affects your sleep (as we mention below) or not, excess exposure to this light causes problems.

 The shortwave blue light emitted from your devices, as you might have guessed, cause the problems associated with DES.

digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome explained

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Symptoms vary on a case by case basis. However, they all conform, generally, to those listed in the infographic above: some combination of blurry, dry, and/or strained eyes, headaches, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. If you experience any of this, if, as we said earlier, your eyes hurt, then digital eye strain’s probably behind your ails. Furthermore, many who experience DES also have some difficulty sleeping.

How To “Get Rid Of Tired Eyes”: Cures of Digital Eye Strain

Ok, in honesty, the word “cures,” is probably a little misleading. To cure something that has a clear, distinct cause, simply remove the cause. Sell your devices, and live a life without them entirely. Simple cure, really. Unfortunately, this cure satisfies very few people. You, reading this, on your phone, tablet, or computer, for example, probably don’t like that answer. Me, over here writing this blog on my computer, I don’t like that answer. So what can be done? Below we explore some of the solutions listed in the infographic above.

how to get rid of tired eyes

  1. Take a 15 Minute Break Every 2 Hours: Step away from the cause for a short time, remove the symptoms. Doing this can prevent symptoms from flaring up.
  2. Follow The 20-20-20 Rule: Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes you use a device. This resets your eyes and your brain, and allows you to focus on something other than light regularly. Set an alarm on your phone if you need to!
  3. Place Your Computer 15-20 Degrees Below Eye Level: Having the computer at the same level as your face increases the amount of blue light exposure for your eyes. Avoid this by keeping it slightly lower than you.
  4. Adjust Room Light For Glare: Never have the light on your computer higher than the light in the room. The best way to avoid this necessity is to ensure that the room’s light never puts a glare on your monitor. Adjust your seat, adjust the light, adjust whatever you need to. Just don’t turn up your brightness.
  5. Visit an Eye Care Specialist Regularly: Regular visits to an optometrist offer relief, and advice. Specialists know what’s good for your eyes. Listen to their advice, and feel the difference.

One More Solution

If you looked at the infographic we included above, you likely noticed that we skipped the first of their “Eye Care Tips.” That’s because blue-light blocking glasses deserve a little more research than a bullet point on a blog post. We happen to know a lot about this tip in particular. If you feel you need a more affective and continuous solution than those listed above, if you think you could use something more protective than avoidance tactics used while on devices, and, if you want to not just avoid symptoms, but protect your eyes as completely as possible, we have a simple invitation for you: Learn more right now about how blue-light blocking glasses can help with your DES, and protect your eyes in the long run.

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“Bandage” Solutions Won’t Protect Your Eyes!

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“Adaptive brightness on cell phones, tablets, and monitors isn’t doing anything to help at all.”


You’ve likely seen a lot of our articles about how digital devices are clearly a source of many annoying issues including digital eye strain, macular degeneration, and melatonin suppression. When you ask the experts at Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics (The Journal of the College of Optometrists) and the National Academy of Sciences, they will agree you need to protect your eyes since blue light is bad for sleep! So, when you’re bathing yourself in the light from digital devices, it’ll be harder to get to sleep, stay asleep, and enjoy your sleep.

And now that there is so much scientific evidence showing how bad digital devices are for our eyes, technology engineers and developers have provided the world with “bandage” fixes: apps that manipulate screens and supposedly relieve users from being affected by artificial blue light. What could possibly be bad about that, right?

protect eyes from digital eye strain

Well, a new study has now come out with damning evidence that adaptive brightness on cell phones, tablets, and monitors isn’t doing anything to help at all. Researchers at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute had already determined that blue wavelengths of light suppress the release of melatonin. Now, however, their latest research has shown that subjects who used a digital device with an app designed to manipulate blue light intensity versus those who did not, resulted in no change in melatonin suppression whatsoever. In other words, apps which turn your screen orange under the guise that it’ll protect your eyes might only work for removing blue light, but they won’t do much in helping you sleep better. One interesting note in their study that stood out to us, though, was that the one night where all participants had an influx of fresh, sleepy-time melatonin was when they all wore a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Well, what do ya know!

Stop ruining your sleep and stop suffering from digital eye strain. Combat all of these issues with GUNNAR. To read a third party opinion, see what one editor had to say about GUNNAR glasses on Gadget Review!

 

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Your Tired Eyes are Asking for a Break. Are you Listening?

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In the health and wellness industry, a focus on healthy lifestyle as a reward well worth the cost and effort has existed as long as the industry itself. This idea, however, hasn’t really crossed over into the realm of eye protection until recently. Over the past year, with the assistance of professionals in all kinds of related fields, our work to help educate the public on the importance of eye health has increased awareness of this important issue.

Boosting Productivity

Achieving your daily goals, being able to go the distance in all that you do, and then, at the end of the day, getting a great night’s sleep: everyone understands how important each of these things are. To accomplish these essential areas of focus, most Americans take steps every day to boost their energy and health.

Whether it’s exercise, an extra cup of coffee, going for a reinvigorating walk outside, or, believe it or not, giving their eyes a break, each day, Americans find themselves seeking to increase productivity, energy, and health through various means. The latest concept beginning to build up steam on this front is the idea of doing a “digital detox.” It’s not a bad idea, but for many, it’s also either not an option or its positive results are less desirable than staying connected.

protect eyes from computer screen

The Research

According to studies by Pew Research Center, Nielsen, and Oxford University, there is an ever-growing number of people all around the world who are affected by the artificial blue light emanating from their digital devices.

 

This research was all revealed at this year’s CES in Las Vegas by our friends at The Vision Council. On top of that, the American Medical Association recently issued a warning to all cities in the U.S. to stop using LED lighting because of how intense the blue light can be and disruptive it is for circadian rhythms. Harvard went on to study the issue further, showing that overly-lit conditions (extensive artificial lighting) can increase the risk for cancer.

How to Give Your Eyes a Break

With so many new studies showing how important it is to protect your eyes, it’s no wonder those in the health and wellness communities are encouraging everyone to take more precautions. Given all of this information, what would stop someone from following through on this timely advice? It’s simple: most people who would like to disconnect, and walk away from a digital screen, are unable to do so.

As we shared before, while some apps and devices manipulate screen colors in order to lessen blue light, their effect when set to a moderate level is not nearly extreme enough to make a significant difference. When these apps are in max settings, everything on your screen turns orange, which is definitely not ideal either. The best solution, for those unable or unwilling to turn away from the screens for long enough to make a difference, is external protection.

digital detox for eye protection

Protective eyewear that offers a high BLPF (blue-light protection factor) is an important solution to the problem discussed here today. For the sake of your eyes, you should educate yourself about BLPF and see how taking advantage of protective eyewear might just be the solution for you.

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Health is the New Wealth

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2018 is upon us and so begins a fresh start for countless people. It’s the season of New Year’s Resolutions when millions of individuals will promise themselves to eat more nutritious foods, increase their vitamin intake, hit the gym on a regular basis, and all sorts of other efforts in order to achieve a healthier and happier version of themselves. However, for most, one integral part of their body is neglected: the eyes.

eye health

Everyone’s day begins when the eyes open and ends when they close, so it makes perfect sense to protect them in between. And given the incredible amount of new information being released about the need to protect the eyes, now is the time for a digital eyewear movement like no one has ever seen before (pun intended). Just take a look at WebMD; they recently posted an article that shows wearing amber-tinted glasses is recommended to improve sleep quality. The study is based on a newly published article in the Journal of Psychiatric Research which proved “soundness of sleep” was “significantly higher” when subjects wore amber lenses before going to bed. So, you see, health really is the new wealth!

It’s no mystery that efforts by many to live a healthier life have increased. In fact, since 2013, the health and wellness industry has grown by nearly 11%, and earns around $4 trillion a year with nearly $550 billion going to mind and body fitness. From expensive, healthy customized diets to specialized personal training, millions of people are shelling out thousands of dollars each year to better themselves. Yet, the same eyes they use to spot these deals in order to improve their health is the one part of their body that’s ignored the most. Whether indoors or out, many people just don’t feel the need to put on a pair of glasses or sunglasses in order to avoid damaging waves of light. Outdoors, it’s ultraviolet light which has been proven time and again to damage corneal tissue. Indoors, it’s the dreaded artificial blue light that’s really the beast of eye damage.

protect eyes

If you’re just catching up on what’s been getting a lot of attention lately, blue light is the only wavelength that penetrates deep into the eye and can adversely affect the retina. With sunlight, the natural part of our biological clocks kicks in. Blue light triggers an enzyme in the eye which sends a message to the brain to turn off melatonin (the natural chemical that makes us sleepy) and we wake up. As the sun goes down, the results are reversed and we get tired. Since it’s the 21st Century, though, we’re now inundated by electronic devices at nearly every turn. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, dashboards, even some refrigerator doors! Digital screens are everywhere and they all emit a whole lot more blue light than the sun. Specifically, the peak of blue light from 400 to 450 nanometers is the most damaging. Beyond 450, we get a wavelength of blue light that’s actually healthy, helps your mood improve, and increases focus.

Now, if you’re one of the 83+% of Americans who use a digital device for more than two hours a day and part of the millions who experience eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and even neck and shoulder pain, then say hello to digital eye strain because that’s what you have. And if you think these numbers are alarming, don’t hold your breath for a reprieve because our world is only getting more wired as you read this. Not only are our eyes exposed to harmful blue light at nearly every turn which can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, and permanent damage to the retina, that same blue light is also causing us to lose quality sleep. So, in a world concerned about health, wellness, and improving livelihood, why are so many disregarding their eyes while dumping thousands of dollars on everything else? It makes no sense.

eye health tips

What we weren’t expecting as we headed into 2017 was for a new era of urgency to be ushered in. We had professional athletic directors and teams reach out, health gurus, exercise experts, and many more come knocking on our door looking for a way to improve their sleep quality while protecting their eyes throughout their digitally-soaked day. Even fashion-conscious celebrities and organizations wanted to work with us because digital eye strain is a very real issue for all people from all walks of life. 2017 turned into a GUNNAR Movement which we’re now riding into 2018. Not only are we working hard on developing new styles and technology to go with them, we have some really ambitious partnerships to announce very soon. This has all led us to wonder how we can make it easier for you to decipher exactly what you’re getting when you invest in GUNNAR products and your health.

good eyesight
healthy eyes

Today, we’d like to announce a new lens protection rating system we’re calling BPF: blue protection factor. BPF is a scientifically applied protection rating designed to help people compare the efficiency of the blue light protection from their screens which they receive from their glasses. Starting now and similar to SPF (sun protection factor), all of our products and comparisons will come with a BPF rating so you can clearly see what level of protection you’re getting. The GUNNAR patented amber lens carries a BPF of 65 in comparison to most other competitors that have a BPF of 18. Wearing a lens with a BPF value of 65 means that the lens blocks a minimum of 65% of incoming blue light from 380nm to 450nm, and 100% of UV light. Since the most damaging and intense blue light is nearer to 450 nanometers, you know GUNNAR protection will be vastly superior.

Protecting your eyes is our #1 goal. Ever since GUNNAR was established over 10 years ago, we’ve remained close to optometry professions to ensure our products are of the highest quality on the market. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, engineer, accountant, student, or just on a computer a lot, GUNNAR provides the highest protection available – protection that helps you see better, play longer, and improve your health. On top of that and with the introduction of the BPF rating system, we’re able to go one step further in making sure you know you’re getting nothing but the best with GUNNAR Optiks.

If you’re new to GUNNAR and into gaming, check out the Razer FPS; if you’re looking for something to wear during the daily grind, take a peek at the Publish Mod.

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Do Apps That Block Blue Light Improve Sleep Quality?

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With studies coming in left and right, it’s becoming more and more obvious that exposure to artificial light—especially from digital devices—is negatively affecting a growing number of people. Recently, NPR dove into the arena and reported on whether or not applications for phones, tablets, and computers were helping block blue light and improve sleep quality. Spoiler alert: they’re not.

blue light sleep effects

While both experts NPR interviewed said there is value in using the apps—which we agree, there is some value—you’re still not getting enough protection. On top of that, with a light-shifting program, you’re causing the colors of your screens to be manipulated and they end up looking like they’ve spent too much time in a spray-tan booth. Whether you’re into art, gaming, photography, or just surfing the web for fun videos or products, the last thing you want is for everything to look unnatural. Especially memes. Besides, even in an orangey state, screen brightness still contains blue light.

blocking blue light makes you sleep better

In steps David McLeod, an Optical Business Manager for an eyecare company in Georgia. In his interview with FOX/ABC WGXA.tv, McLeod warns that overexposure can lead to macular degeneration and retina damage. Just when you thought not getting enough sleep was bad, in steps this guy to say you’re going to go blind! Dramatics aside, he is definitely correct. While it may take a while for that kind of damage to occur (though increasingly so thanks to so many things being wired and digital these days), they are issues which can be prevented starting today. As Professor Brian Zoltowski pointed out in the NPR article, we’re surrounded by artificial light—there’s no escaping it. Taking steps to decrease exposure is all well and good, but not everyone can escape the light. So that leaves you with two choices: A) Change your life such that you can get away from artificial sources of light well before bed or; B) Put on a pair of glasses—as recommended by David McLeod—that will protect your eyes all day and night.

how to get more sleep

If you’re tired of feeling the strain, not getting enough sleep, and if you’re worried about the health of your eyes, it’s time to get a pair of GUNNAR. No need for an app—get the protection that will help restore the sleep you’ve been wanting. Check out our latest styles, Axial and Valve.

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This Prominent Optometrist Uses GUNNAR, Find out Why

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Digital World, Digital Problems

The Digital Age is very much upon us, and the number of people exposed to digital devices for much of the day is increasing at an extremely high rate. Given this fact, it’s a little shocking that many people who know nothing about digital eye strain. In a study done earlier this year by Novartis and Johns Hopkins University, 64% of the 6,000 surveyed weren’t aware of the medical condition. This same study also revealed a very interesting fact: 81% of surveyed university students had clinical signs of dry eye (one of the symptoms of digital eye strain) but only 41% reported the condition. Most probably think the effects of digital eye strain relate to something other than repeated exposure to artificial blue light.

do blue light blocking glasses work

Protecting your eyes never mattered more, especially now that a growing number of studies showing what optometrists have long known and feared: digital eye strain is a very real and very serious condition that needs to be addressed. From losing quality sleep to the early onset of macular degeneration and on to many other long-term conditions and eye damage. Leaving your eyes to fend for themselves when bathed in artificial light will only yield greater medical issues, pain, and loss of cognitive function.

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Do GUNNAR Glasses Actually Help?

GUNNAR glasses have long been doctor-recommended to combat these issues for one important reason: they protect your eyes. So, it’s no surprise to us when well-respected medical professionals like Dr. Ryan Corte, O.D. agree. In his recent article, Dr. Corte  explained our technology in great detail from his perspective as an optometrist. He’s not just someone who bases his beliefs on data and science, he’s also a GUNNAR user.

What Dr. Corte Has to Say

In his review, Dr. Corte tells you everything you want to know about GUNNAR from an eye specialist’s perspective. From the effect of each lens type, to the looks and feel of frames. Dr. Corte gives a thorough review of each element of GUNNAR, offering a final score out of a possible five stars in categories including cost, quality, vision, and health/safety. All of these areas are of interest to potential GUNNAR users, but given Dr. Corte’s expertise, health/safety draws the most interest, for good reason. He rated GUNNAR 4.5 out of 5 stars on health/safety. “Overall,” Dr. Corte concluded, “GUNNAR Glasses are a fantastic option for the everyday individual to protect their eyes from harmful blue light and decrease their chances of digital eye strain.”

Give Dr. Corte’s post a read when you have a few moments. If you’re ready to get on board and protect your eyes, the styles he enjoys using are Sheadog, and Intercept which are both available right now.

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Women’s Eye Health at Work is Suffering. 4 Ways you Can do Better

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The health and wellness gurus at Well+Good  posted an interesting article which discusses the need for women to pay better attention to their eye health, and we couldn’t agree more. W+G also shed some light on a recent American Academy of Ophthalmology report, which stated women are more likely to suffer from chronic dry eye, inflammation, and vision impairment when compared to men. While we all know it’s important for everyone to prioritize their eye health, women, it seems, should pay special attention to this issue! With the many problems that can arise at work, there’s no reason to add eye strain to the list.

What causes eyesight problems?

What Should You Do About it?

Well+Good offers some helpful tips for eye health, and thus increased productivity for women in the workplace. Today we expand on some of their great ideas:

  1. Keep Computers at Arm’s Length: Keeping your computer no closer than 25 inches from you reduces immediate exposure. Seeking to reduce blue light exposure while you work is one simple way to help.
  1. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: Although reducing exposure to blue light while using the computer is good, taking a break is also very important. The 20-20-20 rule states that you should “look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.” This breaks up the constant exposure to harmful blue light, and allows your eyes some much needed relaxation.
  1. Be Aware of Screen Brightness: This rule is simple: if your screen is brighter than the light source in the room, it’s too bright. High screen brightness, high blue light exposure; keep your brightness to a reasonable level relative to the light in the rest of the room.
  1. Wear Glasses Rather Than Contacts: Contacts force your eyes to focus and refocus. Some of this strain is taken off when wearing glasses, which help your eyes relax, and do much of the focusing for them.

What are some of the most common problems affecting the eyes

One Important Addition

One other very important note W+G added to the final tip in this list is not to just wear glasses rather than contacts, but to wear “blue-light blocking specs.” All of these tips are incredibly timely and helpful, but this last bit of advice deserves special attention.

Self-awareness is essential in increasing eye health in a busy work environment, as most of these tips note, but sometimes we lose track of ourselves. Deadlines approach, tasks are added, and stress builds. When that happens, GUNNAR’s got your back. Whenever you know you’re going to be behind a screen at work without much chance for a substantial break, wear GUNNAR and protect your eyes no matter what’s thrown at you.

eye diseases common in females

Take Action

So, if your “#bosslady goals” are to keep excelling and getting the job done well, follow Well+Good’s advice and then take it one step further by protecting your eyes with GUNNAR. You will immediately feel the difference and, therefore, be able to spend more time on increasing your workplace productivity.

Ramp up your ability to tackle the daily grind with a pair of Vertex – available now in Onyx and Smoke.

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Why You Should Think About Digital Eye Strain, and How to Avoid it

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Let’s face it, you’re surrounded by digital screens. The science fiction of the past is now reality. From laptops to tablets to cell phones, our world has gone from analogue to digital very quickly. Modern technology undoubtedly helps society in numerous ways. That same technology, however, also brings negative consequences. A shocking number of people suffer from digital eye strain, a medical condition associated with exposure to artificial blue light. Per a recent study, 90% of the U.S. population risks suffering from it. Symptoms include fatigued, strained, irritated, or itching/burning eyes, headaches, blurry vision, and general fatigue. Furthermore, long-term exposure to blue light has been linked to cataracts, depression, macular degeneration, and other diseases.

Digital Eye Strain Defined

GUNNAR coined the phrase “digital eye strain,” nearly 10 years ago. Since that time, the medical establishment accepted it as official terminology. They have done research (examples of such research may be read here, here, here, here, and here) on the condition, yielding sobering findings about artificial blue light.

The American Optometric Association offers the following definition of digital eye strain:

Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use. Symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.

Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms. (RE: AOA.org)

computer eye strain

What’s the Deal with Blue Light?

Far more intense than the level given off by the sun, the high levels of artificial blue light constantly barraging our eyes packs a heavy punch. Blue is the only color wavelength that penetrates the cornea, directly affecting the retina. Two types of blue light exist: bad blue light (like that produced by personal electronics), ranging from 380 to 470 nanometers, and good blue light (like that produced by the sun) ranging from 470 to 500 nanometers.

Good blue light triggers enzymes and chemicals in the brain that help promote memory and cognitive function. Furthermore, it stimulates the photosensitive retinal ganglion cells that, in turn, stimulate pupillary reflexes and control the circadian rhythm (related to what we often call sleep cycle).

If you want to learn more about the science we’ve only touched on here, you can read what the experts at All About Vision have to say about blue light in their independent analysis. There’s also a whole website dedicated to explaining how blue light can be bad for you. The issues you could potentially suffer when exposed to blue light, as discussed throughout this post, should be taken seriously.

what is eye strain

Every day more people feel the negative effects of the advance of technology and the saturation of digital devices in our lives. The Vision Council, the leading organization for championing better vision for better lives, does an annual study on digital eye strain. According to this year’s shocking numbers, more than 83% of Americans use a digital device for more than two hours a day, and of those individuals, over 60% experience symptoms of digital eye strain.

Technological Solutions

To combat the growing number of symptoms many digital device users experience from this over-exposure to blue light, a demand, and resultant push, for digital solutions to the problem has recently gained traction. Specifically, applications or settings that help diminish the level of artificial blue light being emitted become more accessible every day. Some of these are apps, free to use/install, while other advancements are programmed right into device settings. The orangish hue that takes over the entire screen, though reducing blue light as promised, is not ideal.

causes of eye strain

Other Factors To Consider

Granted, these technological advances are a great step forward in combatting the growing problems associated with digital eye strain and blue light. However, they still fall short. Digital eye strain, as stated above, is “a group of eye and vision-related problems,” not simply a result of artificial blue light. Three other key factors play into digital eye strain as well.

  1. The eyes are muscles and work their hardest when looking close up at a digital device all day. It’s like running a marathon and then trying to walk home afterwards: your leg muscles would be too fatigued to carry you, or even stop shaking. This same principle applies to eye muscles.
  2. It’s a medical fact that blink-rates drop significantly during intense viewing which increases irritation. The harder you gaze at a screen, the less you blink which, in turn, dries out your eyes.
  3. Glare from digital screens and the fact that they flicker as you try to concentrate on tiny letters or details cause your eyes to quickly become fatigued and irritated which can even lead to headaches.

A Better Solution

Applications and settings let you down in these other areas. Tuning out the blue light might help a little, but it won’t stop all the other symptoms associated with digital eye strain. These apps and expensive color-shifting monitors still expose you to these other eye-straining factors. Besides, if you’re looking at a color-rich image or game, you can’t honestly say you’d prefer to see it bathed in orange, right? This leads to another problem: few people actually take full advantage of a blue-blocking apps or settings. Most likely, this is due to the significant manipulation of colors in how they’re seen on screen, and so blue light still gets through.

Furthermore, masking the color focus or shifting the light spectrum does not change the fact that devices with a screen are illuminated by spikes of artificial light including blue light. Although these solutions may shift the amount of blue light produced naturally by the devices, they do not reduce it enough.

how to prevent eye strain

Realistically, these solutions only address one of the causes of digital eye strain. While the technological advances encourage us for a future with greatly reduced symptoms from long term exposure to artificial light, other solutions deserve consideration. Blue light blocking eyewear, today, represents the most promising practical solution. In addition to providing blue light protection, such glasses can help relax the other stresses put upon the eyes, avoid recoloring the screen and help, more holistically, prevent digital eye strain.

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Nobel Prize Winners’ Research Proves Blue Light Affects Sleep

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Congratulations to doctors Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young for winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine! These three American medical professionals studied fruit flies for decades in order to isolate one specific gene that dictates the body’s circadian rhythm. Their groundbreaking research leads the way to a more robust understanding of artificial light’s effect on our sleep and overall health.
Another detail about this victory worth noting: they won the Nobel Prize in competition with ground-breaking discoveries in gene-editing and immuno-oncology. These incredibly important fields of study are not diminished by Hall, Rosbash and Young’s accomplishment. However, the victory strongly emphasizes the importance of research on circadian rhythm. As you probably already know, this research holds central importance for our mission. The international scientific community’s recent acknowledgment lends support what we have been saying all along.
research on blue light and sleep

A TL;DR Breakdown of Their Research

Here is a bullet point version of their research:

  • Just like the visible formations of stars, we all have constellations of proteins in our DNA. These various constellations work together to keep our bodies and minds functioning on a 24-hour cycle. Part of this 24-hour cycle, naturally, includes when and how well we sleep.
  • One protein included in the cluster related to the sleep cycle deals with light. When the sun rises our bodies naturally know to wake up, and this protein gets the credit. When natural sunlight brightens the world throughout the day, our bodies won’t let us down and tell us to go to sleep. So long as the protein that controls the effect of light on our sleep cycle remains in correct working condition, our body will know when to sleep and when to wake up based on natural light exposure.
  • Letting in more artificial light disrupts the cycle. This causes our brains to not want to sleep due to a process called melatonin disruption. The chemical that signals the brain to go to sleep, melatonin, becomes impaired by overexposure to artificial light. Sleep loss logically follows.
  • What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? As we previously posted, you risk impairing your memory, increasing your chances for injury and disease, perpetuating the issue through neurotoxin buildup which further disrupts sleep, and becoming more prone to depression.

how does blue light affect sleep

Take Action!

The story of these dedicated doctors’ success in this important research deserves a full telling. Read the whole story on Wired.com, and comment below with your thoughts.

The process of learning exactly how artificial light harms the body remains ongoing. Yet, with this newly honored research, we already find that what we know has not led us wrong. We know enough to state that the amount of artificial light to which you expose yourself on a daily basis is too much.

The best solution is to cut down on your exposure. We know, however, that for most that’s simply not an option. Don’t wait, protect your eyes today. With GUNNAR’s patented lens technology, you can help preserve your body clock and get the proper sleep you deserve.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017“. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 3 Oct 2017.

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Mission Possible: Protecting Your Eyes

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GUNNAR’s mission (and yes we accept it) is to help you protect your eyes. The Mission.org wrote a thorough and engaging summary of the reason we exist. In this most recent article, they cover a treasure-trove of meaningful information about digital eye strain. Central to their article, as you might have guessed, is their perspective on GUNNAR’s solution.

computer vision syndrome

What’s in the Article?

1. Digital Eye Strain

They cover the essentials of digital eye strain. With this, they go over the symptoms, and, more importantly, the causes. Importantly, they emphasize proximity. If you view screens up close, as we often do with smartphones, the blue light exposure elevates, and the symptoms come on quicker, and more severely.

2. Solutions

Next, they get into solutions (of course, our favorite section of the article!). Here, naturally, they cover GUNNAR’s patented lens technology. In addition to this, they offer other tips, including:

    • Following the 20-20-20 rule (look away from your screen and at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes)
    • Reducing overhead lighting
    • Keep screens at arm’s length
    • Increasing text size on screens

3. Statistics

Here they cover the facts about who suffers from Digital Eye Strain, including the following highlights:

    • About 80% of Americans, across all age groups, use digital devices two or more hours per day
    • Among all Americans, 32.6% report eye strain, 22.7% report dry eyes, 21.4% report headaches, 22% report blurry vision, and 30.8% report neck or shoulder pain.

blue light and it's effects on eyes

4. Technological Solutions

In this section, they covered how to block blue light using your smartphone. The solutions on this front are promising but still less than ideal. Most solutions either block an insufficient amount of light or change your screen color to orange.

5. GUNNAR’s Solution

They end the last section with the following list of facts about GUNNAR products:

    • Amber lenses add contrast to help the eyes define and recognize characters and shapes on your screen faster. Faster means less work for your eyes.
    • The lens tint filters high-frequency blue light emitted from digital devices to protect eyes from both short-term and long-term stress. Studies have shown that blue light can cause damage to your retina, prevents needed production of melatonin to help you sleep, and has been connected to the development of age-related macular degeneration.
    • The lens focusing power helps you hold focus on your digital screens and minimizes eye muscle fatigue. It does that by prefocusing the light and simulating distant viewing so the eyes don’t get tired as fast.
    • The wrap-around design helps hold in the humidity between the lens and eyeball longer to minimize the effects of dry-eye.
    • Anti-reflective coatings on front and back of the lenses eliminate visual distractions to the eye preventing unneeded exhaustion from reflections and glare

computer vision

The Final Word

You might ask yourself, “why did The Mission decide to partner with GUNNAR?” They offer their own answer to this question:
“At The Mission, we partner with the best companies in the world to help bring you informative content and the tips found in this article. We only partner with companies whose products we use, and whose team members we trust.”
The Mission works with GUNNAR because they use our products, and trust our team.
Our mission with the help of The Mission is to protect your eyes. There’s no time like the present to join the Movement of believers who want to end the pain of digital eye strain.

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Blue Light is Destroying Your Kids’ Eyes!

“Imagine it’s 2035 and you get a call from your son who proceeds to inform you that, at the young age of 32, he’s going blind as a result of macular degeneration.”

As dramatic and shocking as this quote from a recent article by GoodMenProject.com sounds, the possibility of the scenario described should shock you even more. Macular degeneration traditionally affects the middle-aged and elderly. Macular degeneration rarely affects young people amid their careers, starting a family, and settling into their first home.

Ocular Development

screen time and children's vision

As children grow, their eyes develop until they reach their late-teens. This means their susceptibility to damage remains high throughout this period. During their youngest years, blue light can travel right past the cornea and directly affect the retina much more easily than when kids’ eyes have fully developed.

New studies constantly come out showing just how digitally saturated society has become. The saturation, overtime, seeps constantly down, affecting people and earlier and earlier ages than ever. The increased exposure to blue light which follows leads to multiple, long-term issues including macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for adults over 50.

The Problem of Technology

ipad effect on toddlers eyes
For any parents reading this think about what it means. How often do your kids stare at a phone, tablet, or computer? When was the last time you saw them not glued to a screen? More than ever, kids are turning to blue light-emitting devices for entertainment, information, or for simple distraction of occupation. Fussy kids can be frustrating, but it’s nothing a little Super Mario Run or Pokémon Go can’t fix things! Right?

As noted in the article quoted above, a Nielsen study done back in 2012 found that over 70% of kids under the age of 12 regularly use tablets for gaming and learning. With how advanced and inexpensive technology has become in the past 5 years, that number must surely be nearing 80% by now. What’s more, the Journal of Pediatrics found:

  • 20% of one-year-olds own a tablet
  • 28% of two-year-olds can navigate a digital device without help
  • 28% of parents say they use a digital device to put their kids to sleep

As we have pointed out in previous blogs, artificial blue light is terrible for you. It causes you to lose sleep, may cause your metabolism to decrease, and damages retinal tissue in your eye. Why on earth would you let kids spend more time than absolutely necessary on something that can wreck their visual future? Let alone, as many parents do, have a device at the ready as a bedtime tradition!

Education and Communication are Key!

Can iPad hurt toddlers eyes?

Taking direct action and removing the cause of the problem, the screens, is the best solution. Today, however, removing screens from your kids’ lives might simply be out of the question. Seek compromises, limit access, and work little by little to improve your children’s relationships with technology. All of the possible fixes out there work to greater or lesser extents. That said, only a healthy understanding of the dangers, and a determination to safely navigate the terrain can bring positive long term results.

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Reader’s Digest Advice on Combatting Computer Vision Syndrome

We’ve long been touting the necessity of protecting your eyes; our company exists to promote that protection in the first place. Imagine our delight and surprise to learn that Reader’s Digest recently joined the fight. They jumped on board and shared some ways to keep your eyes safe.

What Reader’s Digest Had to Say

As Reader’s Digest noted, “When you stare at computers (or devices like smartphones and tablets) for too long, the muscles in your eyes have to work overtime. And ‘like any muscle, if you’re constantly using it, it can break down,’” says James Stringham, PhD, research professor at the University of Georgia. Given the amount of time we all spend staring at a digital device, it makes sense that one of the biggest publications of all time would want to help spread the recommendation.

computer vision syndrome symptoms

Words to Live By

Some of their best advice includes:

Eating leafy greens, corn, and orange peppers,

computer vision advice includes healthy diet

The advice shared focused on the problems with America’s collective diet. Our unbalanced approach leads to an unbalanced body. To even things out they suggest bringing in an extra helping of vegetables like those listed above. Doing so can only help, regardless of your current diet, and will certainly help your eyes.

Taking supplements if leafy greens aren’t your thing

Of course, not everyone likes vegetables (hence the problem with American diets). Many supplements that offer comparable nutritional benefits exist. If you don’t like veggies, don’t neglect the necessary nutrients they offer you, and the eye health stemming therefrom!

Practicing the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20+ feet away for 20 seconds)

This bit of advice, as often as it gets repeated, bears repeating again. Allowing your eyes to focus on something away from the screen, in the distance, for a few seconds every 20 minutes helps you reset. Practicing this rule keeps your eyes strong and focused.

Limiting your exposure to artificial blue light

eyes hurt from computer screen

We play this note often. We figure, the more we say it, and the more reputable sources (like Reader’s Digest) who support us, the more people will eventually take action to improve their ocular health, and avoid the harmful effects of artificial blue light.

Wearing reading and blue-blocking glasses. (Wouldn’t you know it, we have those!)

If you’re looking for blue-blocking readers, you can find GUNNAR styles here. Otherwise, check out our latest style designed by Publish: the new Infinite.

The Growing Movement!

eye strain headache

Reader’s Digest joining the fight to save America’s eyes represents a significant boost to the movement. The more awareness of the importance of eye protection from technology raises, the more people with healthier, happier lives. Perhaps reading this you found yourself realizing that you can improve in some of these areas. If so, it worked! Comment below some ways you’ve found work well to protect your eyes so we can share them in future posts. And, check back soon for more news, tips, and products.

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Train Like an Athlete, Protect Your Eyes

sleep loss and sports injury

You have probably noticed that we put a lot of effort into explaining the damaging effects of artificial blue light. You probably don’t know, however, that blue light affects your performance in athletics and other physical activity. Over the years, we have spoken to many trainers, and the athletes they work with. One of the biggest things that impacts athletic performance is sleep. If you don’t know by now, we’re here to tell you: artificial blue light can hurt your sleep. Anyone looking to perform their best, athletically or otherwise, should pay close attention to the information that follows in this article.

Blue Light Basics

Blue light is everywhere. In its natural form, your body uses blue light from the sun to regulate your natural sleep and wake cycles, aka Circadian Rhythm. Blue light can enhance your alertness, improve your reaction time, boost your mood, and increase your feeling of wellbeing.

Visible light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that carries energy. The shorter the wavelength, the stronger the energy. Blue light has the shortest wavelength in the visible light spectrum, therefore, it carries the highest amount of energy. Overexposure to blue light can cause short-term and long-term damage to your eyes.

computer glasses for better sleepdigital eye strain affects sleep

Shorter waves of light flicker more than longer waves, as you’ve probably seen in florescent bulbs. This flickering creates a glare that reduces visual contrast, and affects sharpness and clarity of images. Flickering and glaring are among the causes of eye strain, headaches, and physical and mental fatigue that follow extended time spent in front of screens. Even worse, we tend to spend long stretches of time in front of screens at night. Athletes, it turns out, are no different in this respect.

how to sleep better and faster

Blue Light and Your Brain

Our eyes’ natural filters that provide insufficient protection against blue light rays from the sun, let alone the higher intensity blue light from electronic devices. Such exposure triggers your brain to stop producing melatonin, your body’s natural chemical that promotes deep, restorative sleep.

When blue light (the only wavelength capable of passing directly through your cornea) a message goes to the brain. The message works like an alarm clock, or strong cup of coffee. Your brain believes, due to the artificial blue light, that the day has just begun. If we lived in the Stone Age, all of this would take place naturally. But we live in the Digital Age, and over 80% of us use an electronic device for an hour before bed.

computer vision syndrome

What is the Effect?

You might be thinking, “So what? I do just fine – I stare at a screen all day and still get plenty of sleep!” Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most people. Sleep and restorative sleep are two very different things. Restorative sleep allows your body to repair and heal during the night. When coming from a digital device, blue light is 65% more intense than natural blue light. And while a rare few individuals may not necessarily feel the adverse effects, there is still a chemical reaction taking place that cannot be avoided. From an athletic trainer’s perspective, the effects you don’t feel come out in a poor performance the next day at practice.

Medical professionals from the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel and Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liège, proved that evening exposure to blue light significantly impacted sleep quality. Remember, all electronic devices emit artificial blue light at a much higher intensity than what we see from the sun. This means any use of any device prior to bed can reduce the quality of sleep you get.

Is Sleep Such a Big Deal?

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recognize sleep’s importance. Sleep-deprived individuals suffer from a multitude of medical issues. But those who get quality sleep have healthier hearts, better hormonal balance, a stronger immune system, etc. Ultimately, though, it’s about performance and functioning at your best each day. Without the right amount of sleep, your body will not repair and you will suffer. Whether you’re an athlete or an accountant, sleep repairs the toll life takes.

benefits of sleep on athletic performance

Solutions

Experts from Keio University School of Medicine and Tokyo Medical and Dental University investigated the effect of blocking blue light. Particularly, they measured how much the blocking of blue light near bedtime affected melatonin and sleep quality. The study showed that each of the 12 adults who participated had more melatonin and better sleep quality when they used a “blue-light shield.”

Only a few methods exist which effectively block blue light without causing excessive difficulty functionally. Amber tinted lenses on eyeglasses have proven extremely effective and practical. Professors from the University of Toledo did a random study on 20 adults in two groups. One group wore amber lensed glasses blocking blue light, the other wore yellow lensed glasses only blocking ultraviolet light. At the end of their study, they found that the group that wore amber lensed glasses not only experienced significant improvements in how they slept but also in their mood.

sleep recovery and athletic performance

Conclusion

The science on blue light only continues to confirm the necessity of caution. Taking measures to protect yourself, improve your sleep, and boost your overall performance should be a no brainer. Elite athletes, like Stepfán Taylor, take to the heart the lessons their trainers try to get across about sleep and performance. Athletes have a vested interest in peak performance, but everyone needs sleep. Everyone should want to perform their best. An important part of accomplishing that almost universal goal is properly protecting your eyes.

sleep and peak performance

NFL running back Stepfán Taylor wearing Haus. Photo courtesy of Stepfán Taylor.

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Sleeping Disorders on the Rise for U.K. Children

No Sleep In London

A new study finds kids in the U.K. suffer from sleeping disorders at an alarming rate. Technology, according to the study, is to blame. The study shows that, compared to 10 years ago, three times as many children are admitted to hospitals for treatment of sleep disorders. They suffer not just from poor sleep quality, but also from other disorders brought on by sleep deprivation.

effects of screen time on children

It goes without saying that if the numbers are on the rise in Britain, the U.S. is likely not far behind. Earlier this year, The Vision Council released their annual report on blue light and digital eye strain. Their research shows that 76.5 percent of Americans report their child or children are spending more than two hours in front of a digital device each day. Not only that, but they also report that 55.6 percent technology users suffer some form of computer vision syndrome after being exposed to two or more hours of screen time.

Is the U.S. Next?

The kids in the U.K should be a warning for the rest of the world, and a wakeup call to the U.K. The damage caused to children’s eyes by their exposure to technology at earlier and earlier ages has long term effects. The sleep cycle disruption and all that goes along with it is only the beginning.

Macular degeneration, cataracts, even diabetes all correlate with excessive exposure to blue light through technology. Nipping the problem in the bud would be ideal. We may already be past that point, but stopping sooner is always better than later when the stakes are so high. Children, as vulnerable and susceptible as they are, deserve and need the protection of adults.

screen time and children's health

Dealing with Modernity

Technology continues to expand at a breathtaking rate. Children (and adults) will only find themselves exposed to technology more frequently as the years wear on. Furthermore, it’s unquestionable that artificial light sources are detrimental to your health. So why aren’t more people taking greater precautions to both protect themselves and their children?

The best way to improve health is to just turn things off. Put the phone down, close the laptop, get outside, and ease the strain on your eyes the way Mother Nature intended. For other times when this isn’t an option:

  • Put your GUNNAR’s on. The blue light blocking, glare-reducing, and magnifying technology in the lenses reduce much of the negative effect of technology.
  • Use the tech and apps out there that help reduce blue light. The development of such technologies is still unfolding. Nevertheless, take advantage of what they already have, even if it’s not perfect.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s that simple and your eyes will thank you.

sleep disorders in children caused by screens

Parenting for the Future

As parents, we often consider what we would have done differently if we were in our parents’ shoes. Don’t let this issue be something your children one day look back on and wish you had done something different. In the short run taking action may be difficult (kids love their iPads!), in the long run, it will absolutely be worth it. Your children will thank you.

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Are your computers destroying your body?

By Frank Gimbel, ABOC-AC

Screens are just about everywhere we look today. Whether they are in the form of flat-screen TVs, PCs, laptops, cell phones, media players, smart watches, or some other technology, all of these devices can emit harmful blue light that can create digital eyestrain. With all this technology surrounding us, questions are stirred about the harm they can cause to the eye and overall health in general.

The dawn of the personal computer age has opened the door to what is known as CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome), or commonly known as digital eyestrain. This condition plagues all ages, spans all occupations, and can harm anyone who uses a computer or display device for prolonged periods of time. Let’s face it, our eyes were not designed to focus upon a specific finite distance for countless hours without experiencing fatigue, eyestrain, dry eyes, and blurred vision. Other disturbing factors can be noted with neck and back pain, double vision, vertigo, and polyopia (the struggle of refocusing the eyes). Additional aggravators can include poor lighting, improper ventilation, and screen glare. With extended computer use and other display devices, we are forcing our eyes to stay fixed on a specific distance for a prolonged period of time. Theoretically, this is highly unnatural for our eyes, and CVS affects about 90% of the people who invest three or more hours per day on a computer according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

1e_webWe are now living in a wired world, dependent on digital devices, and susceptible to CVS more than ever. This widespread condition affects 70% of Americans and is growing daily. While CVS is most prevalent due to the action of eye movements and focusing, a New York Times study of pre-university students acknowledged that a large number of affected users do not have proper ergonomic computer set-ups in their work environment. The position of the user—seating, lighting, distances, screen size, foot placement, wrist and hand movements—all play a critical role in how one should set up a workstation in order to maximize comfort, efficiency, and ward off Computer Vision Syndrome.

When it comes to the conversation about digital devices, the discussion inevitably turns to blue light. There are two different types of blue light to consider. The first type is the healthy kind that helps to regulate our circadian sleep rhythm. It boosts alertness, heightens reaction times, elevates moods, and increases the feeling of well-being. This is the healthy type, and it’s what we all need to help lead a balanced and healthy life.

1dBlue light is a natural trigger and our bodies respond to its presence by suppressing melatonin production in the brain. In fact, all light tends to suppress melatonin production, but blue light “does so more powerfully” according to a May, 2012, Harvard Health Publications report. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that influences our circadian rhythms: our body’s natural 24-hour cycle controlling the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that we experience on a daily basis. These circadian rhythms tell us when to be awake and alert, and when to rest. We’re just beginning to understand the powerful effects that inappropriate or untimely lighting may have on our well-being, but already the facts are starting to pile up and high-energy (blue) light is the subject of much of this focus.

 

1cSleep disruption is a significant issue for millions of Americans, both adults and children. More than 40 million suffer chronic sleep disorders, and 20 million more report occasional problems sleeping according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Poor sleep habits promote irritability, and can significantly affect all areas of our physical health including reduced work performance, mood disorders, high blood pressure, risk of stroke, and diabetes. Studies show that exposure to blue light a couple of hours before bedtime can delay deep REM sleep significantly. The prevalence of blue light in our sleeping environments has many physicians worried.

The second type is harmful, and has been suggested to be a leading cause of macular degeneration and other hazardous ocular disorders. In terms of the visible light spectrum (ROY-G-BIV), blue light occurs between 380 nm to 500 nm. A nanometer (nm) is measured as one billionth of a meter (0.000 000 001 m), and is commonly used to measure a wavelength of light. What we are talking about when we discuss blue light is particularly High Energy Visible (HEV) light, the violet/blue band of the color spectrum which exists everywhere around us, whether we are indoors or outside. Blue light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. Inside, blue light can be found in fluorescent lights, LED bulbs, and through the emission of electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers.

Prior to 2010, the conversation about blue light was most often connected to outdoor exposure and discussions about UV protection. This was the case until April 2010 when the release of the first iPad spawned what was to become “The Tablet Revolution”. Before long, these new-age devices were mass-produced by many competitors in the market, and more tablets flooded shelves in stores and were openly embraced. Tablets soon became the go-to media platform replacing many magazines, newspapers, and paperback books. While these new high-tech devices reduced paper waste, they quickly outsold traditional computers, and created new types of visual problems to combat. When using standard computers on desks and tables, the screen is positioned at a safe mid-distance range. Tablets, on the other hand, are held at 12-to-24 inches from the eyes, and their portable nature increases average hourly usage. Interconnectivity with smartphones and apps became prevalent, and now over 35% of Americans own at least one tablet.

The downside to using tablets, smartphones, and other devices is the backlit display. Displays typically work through LED (light emitting diode) technology, and vary between white LED and RGB backlit designs. The white version is most often used inside mobile LCD (liquid crystal display), desktop, and notebook screens. White LEDs are normally made from a blue LED with a wide spectrum of yellow phosphor to create the emission of white light. The second type of backlit display most often found is made from an RGB LED design where red, green, and blue LEDs are controlled to produce different color temperatures of white light. Concern about blue light exposure relates to its placement on the color spectrum. Compared to longer wavelength colors within the spectrum, blue light and HEV wavelengths are shorter and glimmer easiest on backlit displays. This flicker effect causes glare, and can lower visual contrast inherently decreasing clarity and sharpness on backlit devices.

1aThe naked eye alone does not have enough protection to filter out the harmful types of blue light. Extended exposure to it can lead to retina damage and loss of vision, and it can contribute to age related macular degeneration. With 93% of teens owning or having access to a computer, it has become imperative to begin educating them about the risks of blue light, the different types, and why it’s important to protect their eyes now while using these devices.

Typical viewing distances for digital devices vary. Desktop computer screens are usually set for an approximate 22-inch focal length from the eye. This standard focal distance of about 22 inches was common with most computer use, and generally speaking, worked well for many PC users. Then, as technology changed, this standard became about 18 inches with the adaptation of more laptops. Now, with even more tablet use, we find focal lengths to have moved even closer since these devices are positioned 12-to-24 inches away. Smaller gadgets such as smart phones are even closer when used for text messaging, for example, placing even more strain on our eyes causing headaches and visual fatigue. As the day winds down, device users tend to move their backlit devices closer for visual comfort. The reason behind this is that the focusing system of their eyes begins to “lock up”, and they then move objects closer to keep the muscles of the eyes in focus. By doing so, the end result is that they only induce more stress on the eye creating greater strain and discomfort. All of this exposure to technology creates an immediate need for products that help defend our eyes from digital devices and enhance proper vision.

According to The Vision Council DigitEYEzED Report, approximately 70% of American adults experience some form of digital eyestrain due to lengthy use of electronic devices. The most common report for computer usage per day varied from 6 to 9 hours, and the number of adults now spending more than 10 hours per day rose another 4%. When it comes to computer or tablet use, the eye is simply not designed to focus on pixels and hard targets. The most likely time adults experience digital eyestrain is between 6:00pm and 9:00pm, and 63% of adults did not know that their electronics emitted high-energy visible or blue light. This was one of many staggering headlines to discover, and the figures are only expected to grow with more digital dependency and use.

Ways to prevent digital eyestrain can be tied to proper ergonomics. When it comes to using a computer, it is ideal to have overhead lighting but not brighter than the monitor. This should be the brightest light in the room, and the top of the monitor should be at eye level or just below. Proper viewing distance is key and should vary between 20 and 40 inches—one arm length from the screen. Keyboards should be placed in an area where the wrist is comfortable, and the upper arms should hang vertically with the torso. Supportive chairs that allow the user to firmly position their feet flat on the floor are needed as well. Lastly are eyeglasses that block high-energy visible blue light.

Extended computer viewing has many drawbacks to note. One is reduced blink rate. Studies have shown that a computer user’s blink rate over an extended period of time can reduce to as much as one-half to two-thirds of the normal rate at which one would blink if not working on a computer. This translates to drier and more tired eyes.

1f_webTo help combat this and enhance vision, GUNNAR Optiks offers a wide array of specialized blue light prevention gear to help protect your eyes from this entire screen-based technology. The lenses trick the eyes to think they are focusing far away, allowing the eyes to relax and feel like they are focusing at distance. Available in over-the-counter and prescription options, their lenses are designed to reduce eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and even dry eye syndrome. One key point to note is that all over-the-counter GUNNAR lenses have a slight focusing power in their design. The power is a +0.20D add that aids with close visual needs providing extra clarity and promoting less strain.

GUNNAR’s computer glasses use proprietary wrapped lens and frame shapes to help prevent dry eye syndrome, and keep the eyes lubricated and refreshed. Their frame designs limit air currents from drying the eye, keep in healthy humidity, and allow for more visual comfort. GUNNAR views the number one alleviated symptom of computer vision syndrome is dry eye syndrome. This leads to a greater reduction of corneal abrasions, corneal scaring, and encourages protective tear film layers to remain replenished while working away at the screen.

Let’s not forget about another booming segment to consider: gamers. According to Polygon.com, more than 155 million Americans routinely play video games. Over 42% play for at least three hours per week, and at least 4-out-of-5 American homes contain some type of gaming console used to play video games. These numbers are staggering, and prove to highlight the popularity of what Americans like to do for hobbies and leisure time. Thinking in terms of lenses, all gamers can benefit from some type of blue light protective and screen-enhancing eyewear. For a more in-depth rationale on the topic, gaming is much more than just a hobby—it’s a culture. Even considering statistics from 2014, U.S. gaming consumers spent $22.41 billion on games alone. The average player is 35 years old, and the generic stereotype ends there. Gaming reaches all ages: 56% are male (and yes, the remaining 44% are female), 26% of players are under 18 years of age, and 27% of video gamers are over the age of 50.

Over time, much like the TV and cable industries, games have become digital. They are purchased frequently online rather than in a physical store, and are played on more computer devices than ever before. Committed players acknowledge that they spend at least 6 and a half hours per week playing online games with others over the internet, and another 5 hours per week playing with other players in person. Of these frequent players, 15% spend even more time playing with their partner or spouse at home. As eyecare professionals, we have a lot to consider about our patients who enjoy spending this much time intently watching screens.

1g_webIn addition, this digital shift appears to only be increasing, and console games and systems are quickly being left behind for more PC and tablet based gaming options. In 2010, the digital video game market only took a 29% share of the total gaming market. Four years later, digital sales almost doubled accounting for 52%, while physically purchased games were finally trumped and only made up 48% of the video game market.

The muscles of the eye function like the shutter and zoom of a camera. They bend and flex to allow for the items viewed to be seen as clearly as possible. Think of the muscles as if they were rubber bands. Throughout long periods of uninterrupted near-distance flexion of these eye muscles, the eye can lose elasticity and experience blurred vision, difficulty focusing, double vision, and eyestrain. GUNNAR has devoted itself to working on this extensively. Its lens design pre-focuses the light coming off of a screen to encourage the muscles of the eye to relax. In addition, the lenses enhance colors and allow details to appear sharper while looking at the screen. When setting out to find a lens material that was as tough as polycarbonate yet provides the optical clarity of glass, GUNNAR could not find one to meet its needs and created its own proprietary material. The end result is a plano mid-index of 1.51, with a low-density, high-ABBE value, and high-light transmission lens that provides minimal haze and delivers ultra-sharp optics. The lens appears to be crystal clear, and GUNNAR prides itself on its high degree of color control. Its goal is to create lenses that are enhanced to work with engineered tints and band-pass filters properly, all without any edge defects. GUNNAR claims its lens materials offer an optically-pure viewing experience with ultra-light, ergonomic properties for all screen users.

These lens ingredients make GUNNAR an ideal candidate for dedicated computer users, tablet aficionados, smartphone fanatics, and gaming enthusiasts. The lens purposely blocks out 65% of artificial HEV blue light. This percentage mimics the equivalent amount of natural blue light needed to help aid in overall health for the body and brain. The nanometer band focuses the coverage across the 400-to-450nm spectrum values which is also the most damaging to the eye. While GUNNAR primarily focuses its lens specialty on computer use, its wide range of tint enhancements allows for tailor made usage environments matched to recommended lens tints. Traditionally, the lens tint is the amber hue designed precisely for the type of light emitted from a computer screen. This tint allows the wearer to see in optimized optics, and feel the sensation of viewing the image in an eye-preferred natural light environment. The amber lens tint filters more fluorescent light and reduces high-intensity blue light, also filtering out 65% of HEV blue light at the 450nm light spectrum. While this lens tint can be worn by all, GUNNAR also produces its crystalline lens tint which is designed for graphic artists, photographers, video editors, and those who need to see in true color. This tint provides all the same benefits as the amber lenses, except it will not filter, contrast, or shift the color spectrum while worn, and it will filter out 15% of blue light at the 450nm light spectrum. The third option from GUNNAR is the non-polarized outdoor tint. It has been designed to provide a relaxed and dramatic visual experience for those who enjoy using their digital devices outdoors.

1bScreens emit glare and reflections, and any high quality optical device must have a cutting edge anti-reflective coating to reduce glare, and allow for more light to transmit through the lens to reach the eye. GUNNAR lens coatings all uphold high levels of scratch resistance while maintaining hydrophobic and oleophobic properties to reduce grease, moisture, and haze from their lenses. Prescription options are also available. Each single vision lens, regardless of power, comes with all of the coating and tint options specified above. In prescription form, GUNNAR’s material of choice is polycarbonate. However, upon special request, a 1.67 high index can also be obtained. All prescription lenses have the option to be ordered with either a crystalline or amber tinted lenses, and come with a blue flash anti-reflective coating on both sides.

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