I need glasses to see clearly. Given statistics, there’s a high chance some of you will be in the same boat. Glasses come in all shapes and sizes, and in all prices, too. Usually, it’s the lenses that will set you back the most — and if you need particularly specialised eyewear you can expect it to get expensive fast. So it’s always strange to see glasses marketed to people who don’t need them. Particularly in regards to ‘gamer glasses’.
If you don’t need glasses, you don’t need glasses. It’s pretty simple. While lenses can naturally magnify text or filter out the blue light that comes from electronic devices, wearing them without a prescription (for fashion, for example) isn’t necessary. It won’t make you a better gamer.
But if you do need glasses and you are a gamer, Oakley’s new Prizm lenses are an intriguing and practical new option.
Oakley’s Prizm gaming lenses are designed to fit into its existing frame line-up, rather than any one (likely gimmicky) style. It means rather than a cheesy wraparound design, the lenses are housed in whatever frame best suits your face.
For the purposes of this review, Oakley provided a range of options. The frame I chose was the Satin Grey Smoke edition of the Metalink range fitted with my prescription. The frame itself is very sturdy and well-made (Oakley is a well-known name in the optics field) but the star of the show here is the Prizm lenses. They come in a variety of colours including grey and bronze-based lenses but if you want blue light-blocking, the yellow lenses are the way to go.
These lenses are coated in a yellow filter, but it’s far subtler than the Gunnar glasses I tried earlier in the year — to the point where it’s barely noticeable. They’re not designed to be a gimmick or to shout “I’m a gamer!” into the streets. Instead, they’re far closer to a regular pair of lenses with added benefits.
The Prizm lenses are designed with PC gaming and esports in mind. The yellow filter blocks blue light from screens and the lenses also focus on increasing colour contrast so your vision is more vivid. The effects here are subtle. They won’t make your world into a pop art pastiche, but you’ll be able to more easily distinguish light colours from dark, and greys from blacks. Again: it won’t make you a better gamer. But it will make near-distance objects like screens a bit easier to read.
While pricing for a customised Metalink frame with Prizm lenses does not currently appear to be available on Oakley’s Australian store front, they are available on the Sport RX website for $US76 ($101) extra when compared to a normal frame (frames normally cost around $200-300). You’ll need to head to your local optometrist to get a better idea about how much a Prizm lens fitting will be for your frames.
Whether you’re a passionate gamer or not, Oakley’s Prizm lenses are an interesting idea for all screen users.
They’re very well made and provide improved overall contrast for screens, but the mileage you get out of them will differ. ‘Gamer glasses’ are an intriguing concept that’s been brewing for years, and Oakley does a great job integrating more PC-friendly technologies into its Prizm lenses but the necessity of glasses like them is still in doubt.
If you’re playing often at night, the blue light-blocking nature of the lenses will be helpful. If you struggle with colour contrasts in game, the lenses will give you a boost. But despite the Prizm lenses not feeling like a gimmick, it’s hard to say they’ll have any real impact on your gaming. The improvements here are subtle, to the point where you may not even notice them at all.
They are pretty fashionable though, and maybe that’s enough to tempt you.