Until you adjust to them, it can be disconcerting to slip on a brand new pair of prescription eyeglasses and look around and find things just don't seem right. Don't worry: Most people adjust comfortably to new glasses within a day or two, and fully adjust within two weeks. While your new glasses may appear not to correct your vision as well as your old eyeglasses did, this is completely normal. You might have some vision issues until your eyes adjust; remain patient and continue wearing your new glasses, and your vision will adjust on its own.
You might experience a number of issues with your vision during the adjustment period for your new glasses. Some of these include:
Most wearers getting eyeglasses for the first time, or whose prescription is changing, will need to adjust to the new glasses and will experience some temporary visual distortion until they fully adjust. Many issues could be causing problems while you adjust. It is important to understand this is fairly common.
It's common for your eyes and your brain to take some time to adjust to processing images. Maybe it's been a while since your prescription was updated, or this is your first pair of glasses. In either case, your brain may require a day or two to accept the sharp, new image it's receiving as correct. You have been compensating for poor vision for so long that it's "normal." Your brain will adjust to the new normal as seen through your new eyeglasses. Even if your glasses prescription changes only slightly, one eye might have changed more than the other. Astigmatism can cause further difficulties, and age can speed up the changes in your vision between eye exams. Your eyes also change throughout the day as they get tired or react to other environmental stressors.
Different eyeglass frame styles can also affect your vision and require an adjustment period. Changing from a rectangular-shaped frame to a round frame, for example, or vice versa, can change the curve in the lens. Or moving from a large frame to a smaller frame can change how the frame enters your peripheral vision. While an optometrist can adjust the prescription for the shape, getting used to the new glasses might require some time. And even if your new frames don't affect your vision, how they feel on your face can require a few days of adjusting.
The biggest potential problem is a faulty prescription, because this means your eyes will not adjust to your new glasses. Errors during the exam, the measurement process, or the production process can all cause a faulty prescription. In spite of a dispensing optician's diligence in taking measurements correctly—and in spite of the largely computer controlled creation of lenses—human errors sometimes occur. You will not adjust to your new glasses if the prescription is incorrect - you'll realize this if your vision does not improve after two or three days. This process can take longer with bifocals or progressive (no-line) lenses. If you have questions, your eyeglass professional can check the prescription or even retest your vision to make sure your new glasses are right for your eyes.
For the most part, the adjustment period for new glasses will pass without any real consequences. Take care, however, while driving, walking up or downstairs, or navigating uneven ground, working with dangerous machinery, or completing tasks that require concentration and good vision. The adjustment period can take some more time if your new glasses are bifocals or they have progressive lenses, or your prescription has changed dramatically.
Most eye care professionals will tell you it will likely take two to three days to adjust to a normal change in your glasses prescription, but the adjustment period can last up to two weeks in some rare cases. If your eyes have not fully adjusted after two or three days, check in with your eye doctor. They might want you to come in so they can check your eyes and/or your glasses.
Just be aware that while many wearers will get used to their new glasses in two to three days, a significant change in your eyeglass prescription, a change to your progressive lenses, or getting your first eyeglass prescription can result in an adjustment period that lasts up to two weeks.
The best thing you can do to help your eyes and brain adjust to new glasses is to wear them. Wearing your glasses will encourage your eyes to get used to the changes and adapt to the vision correction. Put your glasses on and wear them as soon as you wake up in the morning—that's when your eyes are fresh. Continue wearing them as much as possible during the day. Don't wait and put them on later in the day, because that 'shock' can cause you to feel the effects.
Don't switch back and forth between your new glasses and an old pair. While it's tempting to go back to your older pair, this can slow the adjustment to your new glasses.
Getting new glasses can be an exciting time. Just remember that you may need to go through an adjustment period first.