Tested: Are Gunnar’s screen-protection Menlo blue light glasses worth the $80+ price tag?

Gunnar Menlo blue light glasses

Today we are taking the Gunnar blue light glasses for a test drive. I thought it might be a good time to at least try some of these protective glasses out, considering how many hours per week I’m staring at a screen, and the Gunnar brand is an obvious place to start. The company makes use of patented blue light protection lens technology while offering up a wide range of frame styles to meet your personal tastes. After giving the Gunnar Menlo model blue light glasses a run for a few weeks now, it’s time to weigh in as part of the latest entry to the Tested with 9to5Toys series. 

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Gunnar Menlo blue light glasses review

The Gunnar blue light glasses come in a wide range of styles and colorways, but for the purposes of this review we are focusing on the Menlo style with black frames and the “Clear” lens tint. 

Gunnar’s 100% UV protection coating is in place here to shield the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. But you’ll also find its patented blue light protection technology. Just like Sun Protection Factor is measured in SPF, Gunnar uses the GBLF scale that “measures lens protection for the eye against artificial blue light. The higher the number, the better.”

Gunnar blue light glasses address all short and long-term side effects of digital eye strain, including: headaches, dry eyes, blurry vision, glare, negative effects of artificial blue light, eye strain and fatigue. The result – improved clarity, focus and performance.

In my particular case, the overly tinted lenses are too distracting to use, so I went with the clear option. Just keep in mind the higher the GBLF, and subsequently the darker the shade on your lens, the more protection you’re getting. 

The “dual-material frame” feels a lot like the frames you are already familiar with and you’ll find subtle “Gunnar” branding on either side. The Menlo model makes use of a 3-barrel hinge that’s smooth in application and robust in feel, alongside a generally comfortable frame with the following measurements:

SPECS:  lens width: 56 mm | nose: 18 mm | frame width: 134 mm | temple: 145 mm | weight: 28 grams (without packaging).

The Gunnar Menlo blue light glasses ship with the frames themselves as well as a microfiber carry pouch, microfiber cleaning cloth, and a 12-month warranty. 

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

  • 3 barrel hinge for added durability
  • Dual-material frame for a lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Blocks harmful blue light and 100% UV light
  • Proprietary patented GUNNAR lens technology
  • Anti-reflective lens coating for maximum clarity

9to5Toys’ Take

Please note that these thoughts are coming from someone that does not wear glasses on a regular basis, or contacts, outside of average sunglass use mostly in the summer. The idea here is to help negate some of the potential negative effects of staring at a computer monitor for hours on and end, week in and week out, for well over a decade. From that perspective, I can say that in my use I found the glasses to generally be quite comfortable on my ears and on the bridge of my nose. Adjustments were made throughout the day, and breaks were required in my personal case, but I did find them to be a generally comfortable experience for long-haul work sessions and the like. OG glasses-wearers might have a thing or two to say about this, but everything worked great for me. 

To the touch, we are talking about something that feels like that typical “glasses frame material.” You know the one that’s some sort of acrylic-like material? In this case, it mostly feels just like you would expect — solid and strong, but dainty where the design requires it to be. Nothing special but certainly not “low-quality” to my touch — no complaints here after a few weeks of regular use.

In terms of the actual effectiveness of the eye protection here, obviously everyone’s mileage will vary to some degree and it’s hard to even know if it’s working. It certainly seemed that after a few hours of focused screen time, writing, and otherwise sleuthing around the interwebs, it did seem to feel like there was less strain on that part of my face and eyes, which is about as much as I could ask for in this case. 

For me, the battle with just having to wear glasses at all was enough of a thing to get used to and an issue I tend to have with your average sunglasses after hours of use anyway. Having said that, the Menlo blue light glasses managed to remain comfortable for significantly longer than some of my far more expensive sunglasses. 

The Gunnar blue light glasses carry a $79.99 price tag without a prescription and start at $229.99 with. Both prices seem a touch too high to me, but again, I’m not a regular glasses wearer with very little reference to go by here. But if my face and eyes are going to feel better than they would normally, it’s a price I’ll happily pay. 

Buy the Gunnar Menlo blue light glasses

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