How Long is a Reasonable Time to Adjust to New Glasses?

It’s an inevitable byproduct of a new pair of glasses: the dreaded “adjustment period.”

How Long is a Reasonable Time to Adjust to New Glasses?

A large majority of consumers who wear new glasses report some form of visual distortion. Sometimes the distortion is minor and subsides quickly; in other cases, it’s extreme and lasts a long time. So the titular question remains: how long is a reasonable time to adjust to new glasses?sunglasses, eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, prescription eyeglasses

The answer – like most answers concerning eyewear – is a bit complex, and depends on several variables, which we’ll examine below. First let’s list the reported symptoms associated with the wearing of a new pair of glasses:

  • Distorted vision
  • A “fish bowl” effect
  • A lack of ability to determine the actual distance of objects (they seem either farther away or closer than they really are)
  • Mild headaches
  • Eye strain or irritation

These effects are due to your eyes adjusting to new lenses. The primary and most common cause of distortion relates to a change in prescription. People often put off eye exams, and when they do have them performed, find that their prescription has altered somewhat. Usually the corrective diopter rating for your eyes – or just one of your eyes – changes as you age, and a slight increase in prescription for one or both eyes is required. To eyes that have grown accustomed to the lenses in your old glasses, any shift in prescription can cause visual distortion.

Another cause could be due to variations between the time you had your exam and the time you first put on your new pair of glasses. Your prescription needs actually fluctuate throughout the day, shifting with the condition of your eyes. “Fresh” eyes function differently than “tired” eyes. It’s recommended that you try to schedule your eye exam when your eyes are fresh, such as in the morning after a good night’s sleep, in order to obtain a good baseline reading.

Differences in frame styles and lens shapes can also affect your vision – frequently more than most people realize. Your eyes get used to the dimensions and boundaries of your old frames and lenses. When you change those dimensions you also change the curve of the lenses, the location of the borders that surround the lenses, etc. This throws off the comfortable and familiar dynamic that you (and your eyes) previously enjoyed.

A switch to a bifocal or trifocal can further complicate the matter. Any type of bifocal or trifocal gives your eyes workout, but progressives cause particularly aggressive distortion because they eliminate the “hard break” of a delineating line. Extra care should be taken when adjusting to new progressive lenses, especially with tasks like driving or walking down stairs.

So, how long is too long to adjust to new glasses? The good news on all the effects described above is that they are temporary. Most people get acclimated to their new glasses within 24-48 hours. It’s important to wear them continuously and not switch back and forth with older glasses; it’s tempting to “give your eyes a rest” from new and different lenses, but only continual exposure to the new lenses will allow your eyes to adjust to them.

If you still experience any appreciable distortion after several days, be sure to discuss the issue with your optometrist. If the situation persists, the problem is likely a faulty prescription reading, in which case a new exam may have to be performed, or a fault with the production of the lenses, in which case new ones must be obtained.

13 Responses to How Long is a Reasonable Time to Adjust to New Glasses?
  1. R .dey
    March 31, 2017 | 7:50 am

    Thanks Ryan, I will wait for another 2 weeks, just one doubt, do I need to go that shop first for verification where I have made glasses?? Is there any chance they have provided wrong diopters in left eye’s glass?

  2. mary manoleros
    April 3, 2017 | 4:19 am

    I have been wearing progressive HD lens for about 2 yrs. I just got a new frame and new Rx and had transition lens made. After one week I could not adjust – distance and reading is not sharp and clear. Dr. recheck and he wrote a new Rx. with a small change. Had them made again and wore for one week. They are better but still distorted. Could it be the frame is a bit larger, could it be the transition lens are not as good as the HD with antiglare? Don’t know what to do.

  3. Nisha
    May 16, 2017 | 11:51 am

    I have a new pair of glasses, but for some reason my right eye is having trouble focusing and it aches after a couple of hours. I’m also getting headaches. If i close my left eye and blink a few times it will be okay, but otherwise i notice that it’s a bit blur with my right eye. The last time i made glasses with a different optician the same thing happened. Then when took it back to him he had to rotate the lens very slightly, and then it was okay. My left eye is completely fine. I know that my right pupil is not as dead center as my left, could this be the problem?

    • Nisha
      May 16, 2017 | 11:56 am

      Also, if i look towards the bottom left corner of my glasses, everything seems clear and i have no feeling of straign. But it i look straigh out, my right eye seems like it’s having troubke focusing. My optician told me to leave it on for a while ans get used to it, but i am very conviced that there is an issue with the focal point on the right lens!

      • Ryan Phillips
        June 6, 2017 | 1:12 pm

        Ni Nisha,

        It sounds like your axis may be off on the lens. Rotating the lens would change the axis slightly. I would go back to your eye dr and advise them of the issues you are still experiencing and double check your eyes that all measurements are correct.

  4. Jade Brunet
    May 23, 2017 | 5:48 pm

    I appreciate this information about adjusting to new lenses. It is interesting to learn that differences in frame styles and lens shapes can affect your vision. My dad likes to stay consistent with his style of glasses so that his adjustment period is short and smooth.

  5. Jillian
    August 17, 2017 | 1:33 am

    My eye Dr. Said that about your age it’s normal for vision to worsen. Because gravity pulls on the retina and stuff. Either way I think it’s normal

  6. Hannah Elliott
    September 27, 2017 | 12:26 am

    I have had trifocals for about two years now and my new glasses, which I got today, are the normal lens. And in addition to that change my prescription went from -3 to -4.5. I’ve already fallen twice and have such a huge headache. Any advice?

    • msatghare
      October 17, 2017 | 3:31 pm

      I would take the glasses back to the place where you had them made and have them check the prescription and I would also tell your eye doctor about the headaches, they could have written down the wrong number in the prescription or the lab could have read what the doctor wrote down wrong.

  7. Manmohan Sharma
    October 10, 2017 | 8:31 am

    Hi i have only cylinder no with 180 axis -1.75 in right and -1.00 in left i get lots of eye strains and headaches after getting new eyeglasses is it normal it has been for more than a month i went to doctor 3 times they say prescription is correct

    • msatghare
      October 17, 2017 | 2:39 pm

      Hi there. We would recommend going for a second opinion and have your eyesight rechecked. We are only an optical lab and cannot tell you if your prescription is correct or not. Good luck!

  8. Erika
    November 13, 2017 | 4:01 am

    I change my glasses its been 3 weeks, but since that I been having a
    Lot of headache, nausea, pain in the eyes … I been taking Tylenol
    Almost every day. Can you guys help me with some solution.

    • jsiddiqui
      November 13, 2017 | 6:28 pm

      Hi Erika,

      You need to have your vision re evaluated and make sure you are wearing the correct prescription.

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