If you experience eyestrain from staring at a computer all day, computer glasses can help. Popular brands like Gunnar are pretty expensive, though. If you want something a little cheaper, Gamma Ray glasses are a similar option for under $ 30.
We’ve talked about computer glasses quite a bit here at Lifehacker, mostly because a good number of us on staff wear them and find them useful. But the most common complaint we hear is that $ 70 (or more) is too expensive, especially if you just want to try them out. So, I went on the search for something cheaper.
You can always head to your local drug store and see if they have a cheap pair of tinted reading glasses you like, but I found these glasses on Amazon for around $ 25, and thought they’d be a good pair to test out. They’re from a company called “Gamma Ray Optics,” which apparently only sells their glasses on Amazon, but they had lots of reviews so I thought they were worth trying. Here’s what I found:
- Like Gunnars, Gamma Ray glasses are available in a number of different styles, so search Gamma Ray Glasses on Amazon to see what they have to offer. Prices vary a tad, but most are in the $ 25 or $ 30 range.
- The tint on Gamma Rays isn’t quite as yellow as the tint on Gunnars, which is mostly a matter of personal preference.
- Gamma Rays have an anti-glare coating, just like Gunnars do. I find they smudge a little easier, though.
- Gamma Rays do not have any magnification.
- Gamma Rays come with a hard case as opposed to a soft bag.
- Most Gamma Rays have flexible frames that feel cheaper, but are probably less likely to break than Gunnars.
- Gamma Rays don’t have the “curved” form factor of Gunnars. Gunnar claims this helps keep your eyes from drying, but I’m still very skeptical of those claims, so this isn’t really a point in anyone’s favor. Just an observation.
- Gunnars are available with a prescription, Gamma Rays are not (as far as I can tell).
So, all in all, they’re like a slightly toned down, but much cheaper version of Gunnars. If you’re skeptical about computer glasses and want to try a cheaper pair before you splurge (or don’t want to splurge at all), I recommend giving them a shot.
Above: Gunnar glasses on the left, Gamma Ray glasses on the right.
I like the Gamma Rays, but I switched back to my Gunnars eventually. I like the deeper tint and the magnification of the Gunnars, even if they are more expensive. If you’re willing to wait, Gunnars often go on sale at places like Woot for significant discounts. But if you’re curious, check out the Gamma Rays for a cheap alternative—and check out our recent poll if your curious to hear other people’s thoughts and experiences with computer glasses in general. You could also try the free app F.lux to see if that helps, too.