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. It might appear that your new glasses don’t correct your vision as well as your old eyeglasses. This is completely normal. You might have some vision issues until your eyes adjust to new glasses. However, in most cases, these pass and your vision improves in just a day or two.
You might experience a number of issues with your vision during the adjustment period for your new glasses. Some of these include:
- Eye strain– You might experience eye strain in the first days you wear your new glasses.
- Distortion– Different parts of your vision might change slightly as you are adjusting to new glasses, perhaps depending how far from you an object is.
- Fishbowl– The image may seem “bent” at the edges. The center of the image may be clear.
- Depth perception– You may find it hard to discern how far away or how close an object is at first.
- Headaches– This is one of the more concerning conditions. If new glasses cause headaches, consult your eye doctor.
What Could Potentially Be Wrong
Many issues could be causing problems while you adjust to new glasses. It is important to understand this is fairly common. Most people getting glasses for the first time, or who are changing prescriptions, will experience some temporary visual distortion. Until you adjust to your new glasses, you may experience some minor vision issues, but those usually go away pretty quickly.
It's common for your eyes and your brain to take some time to adjust to processing these new images. Maybe it’s been awhile since you last had your prescription adjusted, or if it’s your first pair of glasses. In that 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 glasses. Even if the prescription only changes a little, one eye might change more than the other. An 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, or vice versa, can change the curve of the glass. 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, it could require some time to get used to new glasses. 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 could take longer with bifocals or progressive 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 needs.
Safety While Adjusting to New Glasses
For the most part, the adjustment period for new glasses will pass without any real consequences. Take care, however, with driving, walking on stairs or broken 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 have progressive lenses you’re getting used to, or your prescription has changed dramatically.
How Long will the Adjustment Take?
Most eye care professionals will tell you it will likely take two to three days to adjust to a normal change in prescription, but the adjustment period last up to two weeks in some rare cases. After two to 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 people will get used to new glasses in two to three days, large changes in prescriptions, a change to progressive lenses, or getting your first eyeglass prescription can take up to two weeks for your eyes to adjust.
How to Help Your Eyes Adjust to New Glasses
The best thing you can do to help your eyes and brain adjust to new glasses?
Put them on and wear them as soon as you get up—that’s when your eyes are fresh. Wear 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 affects.
Do not switch back and forth with 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.
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