Getting Used to New Glasses? Here’s What You Need to Know
July 22, 2022 • 6:47 PM
After your eye exam, you’ve happily chosen your new spectacles and can’t wait to try them on. Yet, within a short time of wearing your new frames, you feel slightly disoriented as your surroundings look a little different.
Before you panic and think you need to repurchase your glasses, we want to assure you that this feeling of mild discomfort is absolutely normal. It’s just your eyes and brain needing some time to familiarize themselves with the new eyewear. If you want to find out what you need to know about getting used to new glasses, this guide is for you.
Getting Used to New Glasses: 5 Common Struggles
Whether you’re wearing glasses for the first time, got a new prescription, or simply updated your glasses frames, expect an adjustment period as you get used to your new eyeglasses. If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms, don’t worry — you’re not alone.
1. Eye Strain
Every time you get a new pair of glasses (whether the prescription is unchanged or not), eye strain tops the list of common issues people face as they get used to their new eyewear.
The reason is that your eye muscles are working harder than usual as they familiarize themselves with the new prescription. Just like physical activity, the new eyeglasses give your eyeballs a workout.
So, it’s normal — and even expected — for your eyes to feel tired in the first few days of wearing your new specs. The intensity of the eye strain depends on your updated prescription. For example, if you’ve previously worn single vision lenses and recently switched to bifocals, or if there’s a big jump in the prescription power, your eye muscles are probably working double-time to adjust to the new glasses.
Take note that you may also encounter related symptoms like blurred vision and teary eyes that usually go with the terrain of eye fatigue. If there’s any cause for concern, immediately visit your eye doctor.
New prescription glasses sometimes distort your vision, at least in the first few days. It’s especially common for first-time wearers of multiple prescriptions within a single lens, like progressives or bifocals. These glasses have multiple fields of vision correct for nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia).
When you wear these prescription eyeglasses for the first time, your eye muscles are toggling between the near-distance and far-distance vision fields. As you can imagine, it takes some getting used to, especially if you previously only wore single vision glasses or had 20/20 eyesight.
Higher prescriptions or large frame styles may also induce peripheral distortion. High index lenses (which many people favor for their thinner lenses) can also distort peripheral vision due to the higher degree of light refraction than other lens types.
3. Fishbowl Vision
As the name suggests, the fishbowl effect occurs when your vision appears bent or wavy along the edges — just like how things would look if you were to view them through an actual fishbowl. FYI, fishbowling tends to occur with glasses of high prescription power and wide lenses.
4. Trouble With Depth Perception
Depth perception refers to your ability to gauge how far away an object or person is.
Typically, people with myopia have trouble with their depth perception, especially if their reading glasses get a large boost in prescription power. Things usually appear smaller than they would with the old glasses, making you think the objects are farther away than they actually are.
In such cases, you likely feel dizzy, off-balance, or even nauseated during the adjustment period. After wearing your new lenses for a while, your brain and eyes should adjust to the slight changes.
If you’re still experiencing problems with your perception of depth, it’s likely due to an inaccurate prescription. In this case, promptly visit your optician to correct your eyewear.
5. Ill-Fitting Frames
It’s not just the prescription lenses that can give you a hard time getting used to new glasses. Ill-fitting frames are sometimes to blame, especially too-tight eyewear. This can mean the sides of your spectacles pressing uncomfortably into your temple or the nose pads digging into your nose bridge. It’s no wonder you feel a headache coming on!
Even too-loose eyewear can be a pain in the neck, or more specifically, in the eyes. Having to constantly push the frames up and scrunching your nose to keep said eyeglasses in place becomes tiresome quickly. Not to mention that these facial actions may worsen other not-so-fun symptoms of eye strain and depth perception issues.
Getting Used to New Glasses With the Same Prescription
Even if there’s no change in the prescription power, the new lenses and frames still warrant an adjustment period in most cases.
Change in the Type of Lenses
Those who have kept their old prescription and only switched up the type of optical lenses will still need some time to get used to their new glasses.
For example, if you’ve made the change from spherical lenses to aspherical lenses, you may notice that things look more natural than before. The reason is that aspheric lenses use more than one curve in their lens profile to achieve thinner, flatter-looking lenses.
Meanwhile, spherical lenses (aka conventional lenses) only have a single curve in their lens profile. Depending on your prescription, spheric lenses magnify or minify your surroundings and eyes.
Also, if you’ve decided to choose polarized sunglasses over non-polarized ones, chances are you’ll need a longer adjustment period. While polarized lenses do a great job against eye strain and glare in bright light conditions, they do take some getting used to. You may experience dizziness and disorientation that usually go away after you give it some time.
Change in the Type of Frames
Your new frames can also alter the way things appear to you, even if your prescription hasn’t changed. For instance, trading narrow, rectangular frames like The Larkin for a pair of cat-eyes like The Ella will likely mean a period of adjustment as your eyes get used to the new curvatures in the latter.
Changing the color or print of your glasses frames can affect your vision too. Case in point: If you’ve previously had solid black frames, switching to colored prints or metallic paints may mean your eyes need some time to adjust to the bright shades and light reflection (in the case of the metallic hues).
How Long Does It Take to Adjust to New Glasses?
If you’re wondering how long it takes to adjust to new glasses, the general rule of thumb is a few days, although in some cases, it can take up to two weeks.
The exact duration depends on your new eyewear, as different lenses and frames impact the adjustment period. For example, if you’ve switched from single vision lenses to progressive lenses, you may take longer to get used to your new glasses. In comparison, someone who has stuck to single vision lenses (albeit at a higher prescription) may need a shorter time to adjust.
People with astigmatism (a type of refractive error in which the cornea isn’t perfectly shaped) should also expect a slight delay in their adjustment period as their eyes get used to the new way of processing images around them. The same goes for those who’ve gotten a significant boost in prescription power.
The bottom line is to give it time. Slight dizziness, blurriness, and fatigue are common symptoms during the adjustment period. But if your symptoms still persist after a few days to a few weeks, it’s time to call your optometrist.
Getting Used to New Glasses Quickly
Whether it’s your first pair or umpteenth one, one question stands out among others: How do you get used to your new glasses in the shortest time possible?
The answer is to wear your new eyewear as often as you can, preferably all the time. Alternating between your old pair and new glasses deprives your eyes of the chance to properly adapt to the latter. This, in turn, extends the adjustment period for your new specs.
Master the Art of Getting Used to New Glasses
As you can see (no pun intended), getting used to new glasses is all about patience and time. It’s normal and even expected to encounter some degree of blurry vision, dizziness, or tiredness as your eye muscles get used to the new frames. But if you’re still experiencing any discomfort beyond that, speak with your eye doctor to see if they need to tweak your prescription in any way.
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