Review: Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360

Gunnar Optiks is likely the best known company specializing in blue light blocking glasses for gaming. While there isn’t a ton of scientific evidence suggesting that blue light emissions from computer monitors and smartphones is something to be concerned about, there are a lot of anecdotal testimonies that these type of glasses do help prevent symptoms of eyestrain after long hours with electronic devices. Symptoms attributed to excessive blue light exposure include eyestrain, dry eyes, blurry vision, headaches, difficulty focusing and disrupted sleep patterns. Gunnar Optiks launched a new pair of glasses, the Lightning Bolt 360, which we spent a significant amount of time wearing while addressing our other video game responsibilities.

Out of the box the Lightning Bolt 360 has the presentation of being a fairly high end product. It comes with interchangeable nose bridges and temple options so they can be adjusted for the ideal comfortable fit and fashion. One of the temple options included is a strap, which helps with comfort levels if these glasses are to be worn with headsets. There are interchangeable lenses including the standard yellow lenses Gunnar is known for and there are some darker sunglasses lenses. There’s a microfiber pouch for storage and a sturdier zip up case for extra protection.

Switching out the different temple arms, nose bridges and lenses is easy, which is an obvious plus for these glasses. The two sets of lenses serve different purposes and offer different levels of blue light protection, rated by Blue Light Protection Factor (BLPF). Think sunscreen SPF, but for artificially-generated light against your eyes. The amber lenses have an BLPF of 65 and are the standard lenses that one would use in the office or playing video games. The sunglasses lenses have a BLPF 90, and are designed to work as sunglasses and provide extra blue light protection and are specifically ideal for use with blue light generating screens in sunlit environments, like if you’re using a laptop in a park on sunny day.

One thing that I was always gun shy about Gunnar glasses is the amber tint in the lenses. They do cast a yellow tint over everything, but it’s mild and similar to how sunglasses lenses make everything darker. Aside from whites, the colors in the games played during the review process looked how they were supposed to. The glasses are lightweight and comfortable, and the options for swapping out noses bridges is good so everyone can make these glasses a comfortable fit. The temples are thin enough where they generally work well with over ear headsets but not all headsets are created equal in regards to glasses comfort. The strap option for the temples works the best with any headset, and can be tightened to fit comfortably and securely with just about any head size. The Lightning Bolt 360 seems like it’s designed to be versatile enough to be universal among gamers and fit comfortably in any gaming set up.

Not being a doctor, analyzing the full risks of blue light exposure and evaluating the full effectiveness of these glasses in such matters is above my paygrade, but I can share my experience in using them. Whether it’s a placebo effect or not, I do feel like I can focus on smaller text better with the Lighting Bolt 360, whether it’s on my computer doing work or reading small RPG text windows from across my living room. The glasses do seem like they help stave off eye fatigue after spending excessive hours between smartphone, computer and TV screens so in that regard they do what they are supposed to do. The Lightning Bolt 360 costs $129.99 but is also available with prescription lenses, within the range of +2.00 to -2.00. The prescription version costs $350.

Closing Comments:

The Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360 is a good option for people wanting to fight eyestrain. The different temple and nose bridge options included allow for just about anyone to get a comfortable fit and the strap option works wonders for comfort with just about any over ear headset. The sunglasses lenses are also a nice addition that adds value and versatility to these spectacles. Whether or not blue light fighting glasses are a necessary purchase is up for debate but they do seem beneficial to some people. For comfort and picture clarity with minimal color tinting, the Lighting Bolt 360 is a good choice for those in the market.