Gunnar has a total lens/frame
package for digital device users.

Carl Zeiss Vision and Gunnar have teamed up to produce high-performance computer eyewear.

Computer eyestrain has been a hot topic in eyecare for decades. Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) include what you’d expect (blurred vision, headaches, irritated eyes) as well as more systemic issues you might not (neckaches, back pain, general fatigue). Dispensing opticians have traditionally dealt with these problems by fitting presbyopes with intermediate-focus lenses and, more recently, the younger crowd with anti-fatigue lenses. But these solutions address only the refractive aspect of CVS. A whole host of other factors including dryness, intense light emanating from computers, and less-than-ideal screen resolution are also at play. Thanks to a collaboration between Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. and Gunnar Optiks, the first company to develop a total lens/frame package for digital device users, computer users now have an option that combats all of these issues.





Gunnar released its first product in 2008 and has become a leading manufacturer of digital-device-oriented eyeglasses. Gunnar technology has a few key features that set the brand apart. Digital screens (not to mention the fluorescent lights in many offices) emit a lot of high-intensity blue light, which make things bright but are not good for the eyes. Gunnar lenses have an amber tint that filters this high-intensity visible light so the wearer uses more yellow receptors, which are more prevalent in the macula. Balancing the color spectrum in this way improves perceived contrast and shortens visual recovery time.

Gunnar also has a frame geometry that inhibits dry eye. Its heavy wrap design creates a protective barrier that traps moisture and keeps the eye more hydrated. In fact, in third-party studies, alleviation of dry eye irritation was ranked the number one improvement from wearing Gunnar eyewear.

Gunnar lenses have a slight add power, +0.20D, to further aid eye fatigue. And, of course, they have an anti-reflective treatment to cut glare coming from digital screens.

Gunnar Rx lenses have the same features that make Gunnars unique, but are made with Carl Zeiss Vision’s backside free-form technology. There are two style options: single vision and occupational-style lenses available in power shifts of 0.75D, 1.25D, or 1.75D. Prescription limits vary by frame, but generally go up to +/-4.50D (+/-3.00D for heavier wrap styles).

COMPUTER EYEWEAR Assessments of the negative effect computer use has on our eyes and bodies abound. The Vision Council estimates that nearly 90% of those who use computers more than three hours a day suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that computer-related eyestrain is the top office complaint. The American Optometric Association estimates that 70% to 75% of computer users would benefit from computer eyewear.

Over-the-counter, non-Rx Gunnars are sold mostly at consumer electronics stores (Best Buy is a big Gunnar retailer). These stores generally carry about three SKUs. Independent eyecare retailers, however, have access to about 28 models in multiple colors, all with Rx capabilities. When customers at a Best Buy ask about putting their prescriptions in a Gunnar frame, the sales associates will direct them to the nearest Gunnar-carrying eyecare professional. This opens up a whole new clientele.

From a dispenser’s point of view, perhaps the biggest advantage of Gunnar eyewear is its tangible nature. Unlike most computer lenses, it’s not simply an abstract concept you describe to patients. Simply put on a pair—even a pair without your prescription—and you can immediately see and feel the difference. That experience is far more compelling than even the most vivid verbal explanation.

By addressing a range of visual problems in addition to prescription issues, Gunnar Rx has great potential for the dispenser.

Kate Jacobs is an optician at the optical shop at Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.


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