Here's What to Expect When Adjusting to New Glasses

6 sources cited
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How Long Does it Take for Eyes to Adjust to New Glasses?

When you get a new pair of glasses, your eyes and brain may need time to adjust. Most people take a few hours to a few days (2 to 3 days), while others, especially beginners and those with bifocals or progressive lenses, may take up to 2 weeks.1 

The adjustment period may also differ depending on the frequency of use. For example, glasses used for specific tasks, such as reading or working on a computer, may have extended adjustment timelines.

Sometimes, you may only need to adjust to how the new set feels on your face. But in many cases, several vision issues are involved. 

Although adjustment issues are normal, consult your doctor if you don't see any improvement, have persistent headaches, or if your vision worsens.

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Common Issues Associated With New Glasses

Whether you're a beginner or have used prescription lenses for years and just replaced them, it's common to experience several adjustment issues. Depending on your prescription requirements as well as your personal preferences, your eyes may have to adjust to:

  • A new frame style, such as changing from a rectangular to a round one
  • New lens types, such as bifocals (they have distinct areas of near-and-far-vision within the same lens)
  • New prescriptions, such as when your optometrist increases or reduces lens power
  • A new tint

Below is what you may experience as your eyes adjust to these changes:

  • Blurry/distorted vision. You may experience halos, waves, irregularities, or out-of-focus visual images. 
  • Poor depth perception. Difficulty determining how near or far objects are. 
  • Eye strain. Your eye muscles may overwork while adjusting to the new conditions.2  
  • Headaches. Sometimes, tight frames can cause tension headaches due to pressure exerted on the temples.
  • Nausea/dizziness. Change in depth perception or your brain needing to adapt to a new image can cause nausea and dizziness.
  • Fishbowl effect. Images appear bent along the edges, as though you're viewing them through a fishbowl.

New Glasses and Dizziness

Dizziness is a common adjustment issue associated with new eyeglasses, especially those adjusting to bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses. 

Your eyes have a natural understanding of the space around you. Wearing a new pair of glasses may alter your depth perception (ability to determine the distance between objects).3 This can result in: 

  • Exhaustion
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness as your eyes and brain try to adjust

This feeling should subside within a week or two as long as you have the correct prescription.

8 Tips for Adjusting to New Glasses

For the most part, adjusting to new lenses has no real dangers. However, be careful when driving, walking up or down stairs, operating dangerous machinery, or working on tasks requiring high concentration and good vision.4 

Below are additional tips to help you adjust to new prescription lenses:

1. Wear Them Frequently

The adjustment process may be unpleasant, but avoiding your glasses won't help the situation. The best way to adapt your eyes to the new pair is simply wearing them. If you're a beginner, you can start wearing them for an hour or two a day and increase the period gradually.

2. Clean Them Regularly

Dirty lenses may cause blurry vision, halos, and other vision issues, making the adjustment period stressful for your eyes. Use a microfiber cloth and lens spray to remove smudges, spots, and dust.5 Do not use a paper towel or rough fabric, as this may cause scratches.

3. Keep Them Secure

Your new prescription glasses will likely come in a case. Keep them in the case when not in use to prevent damage from bumps and falls. Also, avoid wearing your glasses when involved in high-contact activities such as contact sports.

Remember, your glasses and frame are uniquely adjusted to your face and pupil position. Any pressure or impact can cause misalignments and adjustment issues.

4. Exercise Your Eyes

Like body muscles, your eye muscles also need exercise to adjust to new conditions.

For example, if you experience eye strain while wearing your new pair at work, you can exercise your eyes. This alleviates discomfort by focusing on objects at varying distances. This method is most effective when dealing with multifocal and progressive lenses.

5. Rest Your Eyes

The solution to strained and exhausted eyes is rest. If your new glasses are causing strain or headaches, take them off and rest your eyes briefly before putting them back on. 

6. Adjust Your Frame

Apart from the lens, the frame size, shape, or even weight can affect your adjustment period. For this reason, you need to invest in frames that fit perfectly on your head and face. Your optometrist can help with adjusting the frames.

7. Adjust Your Prescription

Sometimes, an incorrect prescription might be the cause of your adjustment issues.6 

Incorrect prescriptions may occur due to diagnosis or manufacturer errors, and your eyes will not adjust no matter what you try. If you suspect a wrong prescription, your eye doctor can examine you and adjust it accordingly.

8. Take Painkillers

Headaches are a common issue, especially for those wearing glasses for the first time. Although a headache will go away as your eyes adjust, taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help alleviate the pain and discomfort.

Avoid wearing your old glasses at all costs. Going back and forth between the new and old glasses will affect the adjustment process and possibly prolong it.

When to Call Your Eye Doctor

Eye experts recommend allowing at least 2 weeks for your eyes to adjust before seeking medical attention. Call your doctor if you experience severe and persistent headaches or dizziness, as this could signal a problem with the prescription or a medical issue.

Similarly, seek medical advice if your eyeglasses or frame were adjusted, but the issues persist for more than a week.

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6 Cited Research Articles
  1. Optometrists Network. “How to Adjust to New Glasses,”2021. 
  2. American Migraine Foundation. “Do I Need To Have My Eyes Checked If My Head Hurts?,” 2016.
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Depth Perception,” 2018.
  4. Beschorner E., et al. “Effect of multifocal lens glasses on the stepping patterns of novice wearers,” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2013.
  5. The Wall Street Journal. “The Best Way to Clean Your Glasses,” 2013.
  6. Optometrists Network. “Do Eyeglasses Weaken My Eyes?,” 2021.
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