Every gamer has felt it at some point in their playing career. After a double digit hour session of console or PC gaming: dry eyes, they ache, you can’t focus properly, they might even be watering. It sucks but its a price to pay for just one more game.
Apparently though, that’s not completely necessary. Gunnar Optiks have been making gaming grade computer glasses for a long time now and they’ve recently teamed up with Steelseries to produce some new branded pairs of the specs. Utilising a yellow tint, minor magnification and other lens features to make it easier on your eyes, the idea is to allow you to game and work for longer with less strain on those important eye balls.
Let’s see if they live up to the hype.
Provides a broad visual field without peripheral obstruction. See more. Win more.
TOTAL COMFORT CONTROL
Adjustable nosepads and twin-rail temples make the fit comfortable to any face.
Unique SteelSeries temple design is comfortable and pressure-free with headsets.
REDUCE GLARE, IMPROVE FOCUS
Lenses designed to reduce glare, amber tint reduces harsh blue light for better focus.
MINIMIZE EYE STRAIN
Lessens visual stress and dry eyes.
Helps relax the ocular muscles to stay focused.
CHOOSE YOUR COLOR
Available in Onyx/Snow (exclusively sold on SteelSeries.com) or Onyx/Orange.
Custom order your prescription lenses through the GUNNAR Optiks Rx Program.
Steelseries use some generic “Gaming Eyewear” packaging for the Desmo glasses, with a big plastic viewer that lets you see them before buying.
The back is similarly quite generic, but lists off some features of both the Desmo and the alternative Scope specs.
Flipping the lid over gives you alternative language versions of the glasses’ features and a look at the arms.
Along with the glasses you get a small, fold out leaflet explaining how they work – very vaguely and in laymans terms – and a white, cloth pouch to keep them safe from scratches.
So the glasses themselves. The Gunnar Optiks rebranded as Steelseries Demos. They’re not bad looking, as far as glasses for computer use go. The frame is almost entirely white, with black ends to the arms. The lenses themselves feature the yellow tint previous discussed in the specs and the nose bridge pieces are a clear silicon.
Each arm features a small steelseries logo and a split design that looks quite cool when no one’s wearing them.
You could say the same thing for the whole pair of glasses too.
But when you put them on… Maybe it’s me? But I just don’t see these as something I’d feel cool wearing.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a shit and will wear these no problem if they work, but I’m not kidding myself that wearing these makes me even 1 per cent more badass.
So how does one test a pair of gaming glasses? Well over the course of several weeks I spent long periods of time wearing the glasses and not wearing them, comparing how my eyes felt before, after, during. I also played a lot of games.
I’m 100 hours deep in a new Mount and Blade Warband campaign now thanks to these glasses. And the game, because it rules.
The Steelseries Desmo/ Gunnar Optiks glasses purport to do several things. All of these are somewhat subjective, so I’m going to adress each in turn and sum up why I think they work, or don’t.
Claim 1: Glare Reduction and Focus Improvement – Yes
Thanks to the yellow tint and minor .2 magnification of these glasses, I did indeed find viewing screens that bit easier. Harsher whites become a much more comfortable to view yellow, and the slight zoom makes small text easier to read. It’s not massive, but its noticable. Taking off the glasses with a white web page open often results in a short blinking session as your eyes readjust.
White web pages are just horrible. Stop using them.
There is however a slight contrast boost which is quite nice. The glare reduction means the yellow/off white doesn’t become blinding and the blacks are that bit darker. It’s not massive, but the real world feels a little blander once you take them off.
Claim 2: Minimise Eye Strain – Yes, to an extent
Impressively, they do actually work. I spend all day at my computer(s). I write for a living, from 9 (ok 10)am through till 6Pm, I’m writing on my work machine. Tap tap, tapping away. As soon as I’ve finished my day, I switch off, wander into the adjacent room and fire up my gaming PC. Maybe I’ll start up the Xbox, or pick up a book. Maybe I’ll have a play with some wargaming miniatures. All of it requires close up, detailed scrutiny.
This results in quite frequent eye strain, most days in-fact. It’s why I do my best to take several breaks to stare creepily into the distance throughout the day (it unfocuses the eyes and lets them relax, honest). I tell you this, because I want you understand, that I know what eye strain feels like. It’s a frequent problem for me that I have to make efforts to avoid. As a person who’s gone through Lasek eye surgery as well, I’m quite keen to keep my vision strong.
So it’s with pleasure that I can report that the Desmo’s do actually reduce eye strain. After several straight hours of wearing the glasses, my eyes didn’t feel achey. They still felt tired, I must stress this point. It doesn’t stop your eyes from telling you that you’ve been staring at a point 2ft infront of your face for too long, but it does help. There’s no jabbing pain above or behind the eye if you use these. A marked improvement.
It also – somehow – seems to help reduce eye dryness. I don’t really know how this works, but maybe it keeps air from circulating over the unblinking eye as much? In that case though wearing any sort of glasses would have this effect.
Claim 3: They’re comfortable – Mostly
This is the only claim made by Steelseries and Gunnar that I don’t totally agree with. Yes the glasses are more than comfortable on your nose and face. The only place they fall down a bit is on the ears. Now for the first hour or two, no problems at all. However, wear these with a heavy headset, or spend more than a couple hours and you’ll start to feel the edge of those black plastic arms digging into the cartiledge of your ear. You’ll find yourself rubbing them every 30 minutes to stimulate a bit of blood flow to the area.
It’s not horrendous, and as I say, quite comfortable, but how about a silicon pad on the ear piece?
There’s one other point I would like to address and that’s that you don’t get a free hard case with these specs. The little cloth bag is nice and everything, but if I want to take these to a LAN party I want a hard case. Unfortuantely as well, unless you have a spare Aviator one, the giant lenses on these things aren’t going to fit into a standard glasses case.
Conclusion and Pricing
You can find the Steelseries Desmo in its various colour variants for around £60-£70, which isn’t cheap considering this is a peripheral most people wouldn’t even consider buying. It’s also not rediculous, as there are frames at most opticians that will set you back five times that much without even blinking.
The question though really is, are these worth it? If you think they’re going to make you a better gamer, forget it, that isn’t happening. This is – as lame as it sounds – about health. Do you care about your eyes? And if so, do you want to be able to game longer, beyond the usual trappings of your eyes and their piss poor stamina.
Staring for hours and hours at an object that is usually no more than a metre away makes your eyes work hard to focus. It also makes them less capable at switching between focus distances as quickly. And it makes them feel like crap. Who here actually likes having dry, tired eyes?
These glasses aren’t a substitute for taking proper care of them, but they do help alleviate a lot of the problems associated with marathon gaming sessions. Maybe you won’t wear these all day, every day. But the times you plan to spend gaming well into the early hours of the morning, I’d recommend them. They do help.
- Reduce eye strain, impressively so
- Help avoid dry eyes
- Yellow tint reduces glare, adds contrast
- Minor zoom makes reading small text easier
- They make me look like even more of a dork
- Arms aren’t 100 per cent comfortable
- Of little use beyond making your eyes feel a bit better