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How Long Does It Take to Get Used to New Glasses?

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Most people who wear glasses are familiar with the excitement and confidence boost that accompanies wearing new specs for the first time. But sometimes there is an adjustment period before your vision is fully comfortable. Things may look blurry, or you may notice feeling dizzy after prolonged wear. Some of these symptoms can be a normal part of the adjustment period, but sometimes they’re a reason to contact your eye doctor. If your new glasses are giving you trouble, speak with Dr. Fred Arima about ensuring that your eyesight is both clear and comfortable. 

If you have always had frequent headaches, eyestrain, and dizziness when reading or viewing monitors, be sure to mention this to your doctor before you are tested for new eyeglasses. Changing the power of the lenses may not help your symptoms. You may have Trigeminal Dysphoria and require contoured prism or Vision Therapy to help your symptoms. 

When Will My Eyes Adjust to My New Glasses?

It can take a few days to a few weeks for your eyes and brain to fully adjust to your new eye wear, whether you are changing your prescription or wearing eyeglasses for the first time.

Even if you are getting new glasses with the same prescription, different frames or lenses can alter your vision until you get used to the new frame style or lens type. The complexity of your prescription and whether you buy a lens with premium optics versus basic spherical lens or polycarbonate material all can affect the adjustment time. 

Progressive lenses tend to be the most difficult to adjust to. This is related to the peripheral soft focus zones, which are much less blurred for customized lenses prescribed by your local optometrist. Not all progressive lenses have the same optical design. The optical lens designs differ from one brand to another. You may prefer the unique optics of one brand versus another brand. 

What Are Some Possible Visual Symptoms I Could Experience?

Some common experiences shared by those adjusting to new eyewear include:

  • Eye strain, headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble with depth perception, nausea and dizziness
  • “Barrel distortion” — objects appear distorted, for high plus lenses
  • “Fishbowl effect” — the feeling that your visual field is being bent along the edges, as if you’re looking through a fishbowl, common in high minus prescriptions 

Why Do My New Glasses Give Me a Headache? 

Fatigued eye muscles can cause headaches. But your eyes aren’t the only things adjusting to your new lenses. Your brain is also working hard to create a clear picture of the messages it’s receiving from your eyes. This extra brain activity can sometimes bring on a headache, which should only last about a day or so. All lenses magnify or minify objects. The degree to which things look larger or smaller may vary due to the amount of lens power change from an old lens prescription to a new lens prescription. It takes time to adapt to this new way of viewing the world. And of course all lenses have a prism effect in them. When you view things through the periphery of your lens rather than through the center of your lenses you will experience more prism when you are looking through the periphery of your lenses. Also "stronger" lens powers will have more prism effects than "weaker" lens powers. Prism shifts the position of objects being looked at. Your eye muscles need to compensate for this shift in object position. The eye muscle "memory" of both eyes requires time to adjust. 

Why Do I Feel Dizzy With My New Glasses?

Dizziness and nausea can be caused by problems with depth perception, similar to motion sickness. With motion sickness, you feel uneasy because your brain is having difficulty understanding the position of your body in relation to the space surrounding it. So when you wear your new glasses, your brain may need some time to understand how to interpret the new images it's receiving, causing you to feel disoriented or dizzy. Our visual system is sensitive. Some more sensitive than others. Just like the differences in pain tolerance amongst individuals. The improper adjustment of eyeglasses can cause unwanted magnification, prism, or minification effects. These factors change depending upon factors like the distance the plane of the lenses set away from your eyes, the curvature of the front of your eyeglasses, and the tilt of the plane of your eyeglasses relative to the plane of your face. Ever notice how you can make things look larger of smaller while looking through the lenses and moving them closer or farther from your eyes?

Try this experiment. Have a friend who wears glasses face you with their glasses on. Watch your friend's eyes through their glasses. Ask her to move her glasses slowly farther from her eyes and then back closer to her eyes. Does the size of her eyes appear to change when you watch her eyes through her glasses? Ask her what she experiences while she is looking at you through the lenses and moving the glasses away from and back toward her eyes.

When Should I Call My Eye Doctor?

When the adjustment period extends beyond a few weeks, there is a possibility that there was an error in the manufacturing of the lenses or an improper fit of the eyeglasses.  Many people purchase eye wear from somewhere other than their eye doctor or order glasses online, and some studies have shown that up to 40% of online eye wear is made incorrectly or inaccurately. 

It’s important to note that many offices may charge fees to check eye wear that is not made by them and that there may be fees for rechecking a patient’s refraction when glasses are made by another source.

Discomfort that lasts longer than a couple of weeks means it’s time to call your optometrist. Persistent symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or blurry vision can indicate that your glasses aren’t well suited to your eyes and need adjusting. Your optometrist will double check the prescription of the glasses among other things to ensure that the new glasses are right for you. 

If you need new glasses or are having a hard time adjusting to a new pair, don’t hesitate to contact Mill Creek Vision to schedule an appointment with the Mill Creek opticians or doctors. As we learned above, there are "side effects" to lens optics and the improper adjustment of eyeglasses, just as their are "side effects" to medications. The power of the lenses, the lens prescription, is just the start of the process of clear, comfortable, vision.