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Do Eyes Have to Adjust to New Glasses?

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An optician fitting a woman for new glasses

If you’ve had the same prescription and glasses for several years, it can bring some feelings of apprehension when it comes to adjusting to new glasses. But the downsides to not changing can be much more than the time it may take your eyes to adjust.

There is no set “adjustment period” for new glasses. However, most people’s eyes need some time to adjust, especially if there is a drastic change in your prescription or lens type. If you’ve experienced an uncomfortably long adjustment period in the past with uncomfortable side effects, your eye doctor is the best person to discuss this with.

An optometrist can advise you on the best ways to avoid prolonged or uncomfortable adjustment times. They will also be able to ensure that you’re getting the best lenses for your situation and that the prescription is accurate. In some cases, if glasses aren’t working out for you, laser eye surgery or contact lenses may be a better long-term option.

Why Do Eyes Have to Adjust to New Glasses?

When you have one prescription for any decent length of time (or you haven’t worn glasses), your brain learns and processes what the eye sees. And then, when you change how your eye sees, your brain essentially has to adjust how it processes these images.

The prescription isn’t the only thing that affects this process. Even if it doesn’t change, but you change frames, that can alter the curve of the lens, which also slightly distorts the way your eyes see an image.

How Long Does it Take?

Typically, this adjustment only takes a day or two of wearing the new glasses. However, your eyes and brain can take up to 1 or 2 weeks to fully adjust. Usually, they aren’t a significant reason for alarm, but there are a few things that you can potentially experience regarding minor side effects of adjusting:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Eye strain leading to headaches
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Poor depth perception
  • Bending along the edges of your field of vision, known as the “fishbowl effect”

In most cases, these side effects will resolve themselves quickly. However, knowing what to expect can help you plan ahead. For example, because your depth perception may be off, you’ll want to avoid activities that could be dangerous without proper vision.

Speeding up the Process

There isn’t really a way to speed up how fast your eyes and brain adjust to new glasses. But one of the best things you can do is consistently wear your new glasses. You’ll also want to avoid switching back and forth to your old glasses, as this will make it take longer to adjust to the new prescription.

The Prescription Didn’t Change

Nothing says your prescription will change every time you go in for an eye exam. Ideally, it won’t ever change. Even if you’re simply upgrading to a new style of frame or improved lens types, you will likely experience an adjustment period.

The prescription is the main factor in why your eyes need to adjust because that determines what kind of magnification the lenses offer. However, even a different pair of frames or type of lens will alter how your brain processes the images.

Plus, the bridge of your nose and behind your ears will also have to adjust if you go with a new frame style because they will sit on your face differently.

A young woman wearing Mykita Eyewear, standing outdoors

When to Contact the Eye Doctor

In most cases, your eyes will adjust in 2 or 3 days to the new glasses, but in rare instances, it could take up to 2 weeks. A good rule of thumb is to schedule a follow-up with your eye doctor. You won’t need another comprehensive eye examination, however, the doctor can check a few things to ensure everything is good.

Sometimes prescriptions are rechecked to ensure your vision correction. The eye doctor can also check your glasses to ensure that that prescription matches your requirements. If everything seems to be checking out, they may advise you to stick with it and wait another week or two before investigating further.

Getting New Glasses

Whether you want a change in the frame as a style choice or need a stronger prescription, give our office a shout today. The helpful staff at York Mills Eye Care are happy to answer any questions you have. They can provide you with a selection of frames and lens options that suit you perfectly.

Written by Dr. Vagners

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