Adjusting to your new glasses can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few weeks. Everyone is different and adapts at their own pace, so as tricky as it may be, it’s important to be patient when adjusting to a new prescription.
The difference between a few hours and two weeks is, well, a lot. But the adjustment period usually depends on the type of change you’re getting used to. This can be something small, like having the same prescription added to a new frame, or something major like trying progressive lenses for the first time.
Adjusting to a New Vision Prescription
If you’re new to wearing glasses — or your prescription has changed since you got your last pair — it may take a bit to adjust to your new prescription lenses. This is because your eye muscles and brain have gotten accustomed to compensating for blurry vision. When you start wearing glasses for the first time, it can take a while for your eyes and brain to recalibrate to your new normal.
Because the first few days can feel a little wonky, try to avoid driving long distances or doing fast-paced activities. Also, wear your new glasses as often as you can for as long as you can. Keeping them on for longer periods of time gives your eyes more time to adjust, which can speed up the time it takes to get used to them.
Adjusting to the Same Prescription in a New Frame
Even if you’re a longtime member of the prescription glasses club and your Rx hasn’t changed, it’s possible to experience a learning curve with new frames. This is most common if your new frames are a different size or shape from the original ones.
If your new frames are larger than your old ones, you’ll have to get used to a wider field of vision — especially in your periphery (your side vision). On the other hand, downsizing frames can result in adjusting to a smaller field of vision.
Rest assured, the time it takes to accommodate a new pair of frames is usually pretty short. However, if you continue to experience problems, it’s a good idea to check with your eye doctor in case you need an adjustment to your frames or prescription.
Getting Used to a New Lens Type
It’s common for people aged 40 and over to experience presbyopia, which is an age-related vision change that affects near vision. If someone who already wears glasses for distance vision (with single-vision lenses) suddenly needs correction for near vision too, their eye doctor will likely prescribe a bifocal or multifocal lens to correct for both distances.
Going from eyewear with a single-vision lens to a bifocal or multifocal lens can be a fairly dramatic change, which is where the weekslong adjustment period comes in. Rather than having one single prescription in a lens, bifocal lenses have two prescriptions. A progressive lens is a type of multifocal lens with three prescriptions in one lens and no dividing lines between the segments.
While progressive lenses are convenient and a great option for those who need them, they take some time to get used to. Wearers must train themselves to use different sections of the lens to focus on objects at certain distances.
Symptoms of Adjusting to New Glasses
When you first put on your new pair of glasses, you may notice some obvious changes in your vision: For one, it should be much clearer than before. But as you wear them and move around, you may also notice a few weird things, including:
- Depth perception changes, which can make it difficult to determine how near or far things are.
- Distorted vision, which can make certain objects look bowed or wavy.
- Blurry vision, which makes it hard to see clearly.
- A fishbowl effect, which makes the edges of your visual field appear bent as if you’re looking through a fishbowl. This is common when adjusting to progressive lenses.
As a result of these symptoms, you may also experience:
- Eye strain, when your eyes feel tired and heavy
Tips for Getting Used to New Glasses
While the learning curve for new eyeglasses is fairly universal, there are a few tricks you can incorporate to help relieve discomfort and accelerate your adjustment period. Try practicing some of these tips to ease the transition to your new prescription glasses:
Make sure the frames fit correctly. Listen, eyeglass lenses are only as good as the frame that houses them. If your frames are too loose, they may slide down your nose. This can cause you to focus through the wrong part of the lens, which can lead to blurry vision. On the other hand, if the nose piece or temple arms are too tight, you may experience headaches.
There are ways to adjust your frames at home that can help improve the fit. However, to get the best results and avoid unnecessary risks, it’s usually best to take them to an optician near you who can adjust them safely and effectively.
Work your way up to full-time use. If you’re wearing glasses for the first time, or you’re adjusting to a new lens type or prescription, going from zero to 100 can take a toll on your eyes. Once your eyes start to feel achy, or a headache develops, remove your specs and let your eyes rest for a few minutes. Taking little breaks can help reduce the discomfort associated with wearing new glasses.
Wear your specs regularly. The only way to get your eyes adjusted to wearing your glasses is to — you guessed it — wear them! While taking short breaks to avoid discomfort is fine, you want to make sure you’re wearing your glasses as much as possible.
Taking them off for long periods of time (besides when you’re sleeping) makes it harder for your eyes to adjust when you finally have your new glasses on. This will only drag out the adjustment period.
Don’t go back to your old glasses! As tempting as it is to return to your old love, you must resist. This is especially true for those whose prescriptions have changed since retiring their old glasses, or for people who’ve upgraded to progressive lenses from single-vision.
Similar to taking (and leaving) your new glasses off, going back to what your eyes are familiar with might be more comfortable in the short term. But ultimately it’s going to prolong the adjustment period. It’s good to keep an old pair of glasses as a backup in case something happens to your new pair, but you shouldn’t continue using them regularly.
Keep your lenses clean. Lenses are essentially little windows that you look through to see clearly. If the windows are smudged, dirty, or caked in debris, it’s putting extra strain on your eyes to try and focus. Not to mention, dirty lenses are even more noticeable to people around you than they are to you.
Take care of your glasses when you’re not wearing them. Besides keeping the lenses clean, it’s important to follow this rule of thumb:
If they aren’t on your face, they’re in the case.
By storing your specs correctly, you reduce the likelihood of damaging or misplacing them. Plus, on the off chance that your frames are dropped, stepped on, or sat on, a hard-shell glasses case can help protect them from extensive damage.
What if I Can’t Adjust to New Glasses?
While uncommon, it’s possible for there to be an issue with your prescription. So, if you haven’t adjusted to your single-vision prescription after a week, check in with your eye doctor.
For people who are adjusting to bifocal or progressive lenses, the adjustment time is a little longer. However, if you’re still having trouble after a few weeks, talk to your eye doctor.
Sometimes the different sections of the lens (also called segments) may not transition seamlessly between prescription powers, causing them to feel off slightly. This can make it so your eyes don’t naturally line up with the correct lens area. If this is the case, your doctor may need to adjust your prescription.
Eyebuydirect offers free returns within 14 days of receiving your purchase. So, whether there’s a problem with the prescription, or the frames aren’t quite your style, you can return them, hassle-free.
Getting used to new glasses takes time. But the clarity you get from an accurate prescription makes the learning curve totally worth it.