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Do Eyes Have to Adjust to New Glasses?

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An older man having new glasses adjusted to his face by an optician

If you have glasses, you likely need a new pair now and then, whether you have a new prescription or change frames. Your eye doctor can provide you with a new pair of glasses, but do you need to adjust to your new lenses? 

Continue reading to learn more about new glasses, including if you need to adjust to them and what you can expect. 

Do You Need to Adjust to New Glasses? 

Yes, you need to adjust to new glasses. When you get a new prescription or lenses, your brain must adjust to the clearer images your eyes see. It may take a while for your vision to feel comfortable. 

When you have new glasses, your eyes work harder than normal to create a clear image. It’s common to experience blurry vision or eye strain as this happens. 

How Long Is This Adjustment Period? 

There’s no guaranteed time when adjusting to your new glasses. This adjustment period varies from person to person, with some taking longer than others. You may feel comfortable in your new glasses within a few days or need almost 2 weeks to adjust. 

Your eyes need time to adjust, but too much time may mean there’s something wrong. If your eyes feel irritated or uncomfortable, book an appointment with your eye doctor. 

Headaches, eye strain, or distorted vision for more than 3 days is a concern. Your optometrist can examine your eyes and determine what’s causing your symptoms. 

Adjusting to New Glasses When Your Prescription Hasn’t Changed

What about if your prescription hasn’t changed? Do you need to adjust to new glasses? 

Your eyes may need to adjust to new glasses even if your prescription hasn’t changed. Changing up the style of your frames or lenses can mean a new adjustment period because small aspects of the glasses are different. 

How you see through your lenses can change if they’re adjusted. A thinner lens or switching to progressives can force your eyes to adjust. 

When you upgrade your frames, you’re not only changing your style—you’re altering the shape, size, and curve of your lenses to fit the new frames. These adjustments can mean your glasses feel different even if your prescription stays consistent. The different dimensions of your new lenses may force your eyes to adjust, leading to some irritating symptoms. 

A woman trying on new glasses at the optometrists office

What to Expect When Adjusting to New Glasses

There’s no way to avoid the adjustment period when wearing your new glasses, but it can be helpful to know what to expect. Experiencing any of these issues isn’t a sign your glasses are broken or not working well, but that your eyes are getting used to these new lenses. 

You may experience any of the following issues as you adjust to your new glasses: 

Depth Perception Issues

Your depth perception may feel off when first adjusting to your new glasses. It may be harder to determine how far away an object is. 

Possible Distortion

Distortion can happen when adjusting to new glasses. You may notice that images look warped, bent, or out of focus. 

Strained Eyes

Eye strain can be common when adjusting to new glasses. Your eyes work harder to focus through your new lenses, making them tired. 

Fishbowl Effect

When wearing new glasses, you can experience a fishbowl-like effect. Images look bent along the edges, making you feel like you’re looking through a fishbowl. 

How to Make the Adjustment Period Easier

When adjusting to your new glasses, wear them as much as you can. Getting used to your glasses is much easier when you wake up and wear them all day or as long as possible. 

You’re used to your old glasses, so they’ll likely feel more comfortable. It can be tempting, but avoid wearing your old glasses—it’ll extend the adjustment period. There’s no point in making the adjustment period longer than it has to be. 

Avoid wearing your old glasses, even if you have the same prescription. You still need to adjust to your new frames and lenses. 

Experience Clear, Comfortable Vision With Your New Glasses

The adjustment period can be annoying and frustrating, but it’s a necessary part of the new glasses experience. You’ll enjoy clear, comfortable vision within a few days to weeks. You can make this process easier by only wearing your new glasses—avoid the temptation to wear your old pair. 

Remember that your eye doctor is always here to help address any questions or concerns you may have. Visit them if you experience irritation, headaches, or eye strain for more than 3 days, and they can assess your vision. Contact your optometrist if you’re looking for new glasses or have any questions or concerns about your current pair.

Written by Dr. Daryl Berger

Dr. Berger was born and raised in Red Deer. After studying at Red Deer College and the U of A, he graduated with honours from the optometry program at Waterloo in 2007. Daryl enjoys music, cars, biking, hiking, snowboarding and travel. He and his wife, Pamela, have twin boys and a dog named Gus.
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