How to Adjust to a New Glasses Prescription: Double Vision and Other Impairments

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by Irish Torres

Getting used to a new glasses prescription can often be a difficult adjustment. Your eyes might feel strained and tired, and you might immediately want to return to your old pair. It is important to remember several things as you adjust to your new glasses prescription. You need to understand how to get used to it, both physically and mentally, and the signs that you need a new glasses prescription. Even the simplest of symptoms can be indicative of something greater.

Who needs new glasses?

A new glasses prescription for those already wearing glasses can be a bit of a hassle. However, it is imperative to look for warning signs that you need a new glasses prescription before symptoms progress. This includes blurred vision, sudden flashes, double vision, a loss of clarity, eye strain, headaches, and squinting. These symptoms are fairly easy to understand, but it is important to know what they mean and what they can lead to if not adequately dealt with.

Blurred vision is defined as a lack of sharpness that results in the inability to see fine detail. Most of the time, you are either near-sighted or far-sighted and need a new glasses prescription. In less common occurrences, though, it could also mean an eye disease present, such as cataracts. Cataracts are when the eye’s lens becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurry vision. It can make a person see halos around lights and eventually lead to vision loss if not properly treated.

Sudden flashes, or floaters, occur when you look at a bright light or flash. If this happens when the light you are looking at is not that bright, it usually means a change in your vision and that you need a new glasses prescription. In rare cases, however, it can mean problems with your retina, such as retinal detachment. According to Mayo Clinic, retinal detachment is a serious condition in which the tissue at the back of the eye pulls away from a layer of blood vessels that provide necessary oxygen and nourishment. It causes sudden flashes of light or a shadow in the field of vision. Without treatment, it can lead to vision loss.

Double vision is different from experiencing blurred vision, but both conditions can mean you need a new glasses prescription. According to Web MD, double vision, also known as diplopia, is caused by problems affecting the cornea, the lens behind the pupil, the extraocular muscles (muscles of the eye), nerves carrying visual information from the eyes to the brain, or the area of the brain that processes visual information from the eyes. If any of these areas experience issues, you can experience double vision, one of the most common signs of needing a new glasses prescription. The symptoms of double vision are droopy eyelids, weakness in the eyes, headache, nausea, pain around the eyes near the temples or eyebrows, pain with eye movements in one or both eyes, or misalignment of one or both eyes. Most of the time, experiencing double vision means needing a new glasses prescription. It could also mean issues stemming from other areas in the body like nerve problems (multiple sclerosis, diabetes, etc.), brain problems (migraine headaches, aneurysms, etc.), muscle problems (Graves’ disease), or cornea problems (dryness of the cornea, Keratoconus, etc.).

A loss in clarity of vision means that you most likely need a new glasses prescription because you have experienced a vision change. When you began wearing your previous glasses, were you able to see things pretty far away, and now they are becoming harder and harder to see? This means you are experiencing a loss of clarity, which is fairly common for those wearing corrective lenses. A new glasses prescription can easily fix it.

Eye strain is defined as fatigue of the eyes, often caused by reading or looking at a computer screen too long. We have all probably experienced this at least once or twice as we binge-watch our favorite shows on Netflix. However, if you realize you are experiencing eye strain consistently, you might need a new glasses prescription. If your eyes feel better after removing your glasses, you need a new prescription. Eye strain often causes dryness of the eyes, headache, and overall discomfort. Luckily, eye strain does not cause any long-term damage to your eyes, but it can still be an inconvenience. Instead of putting yourself through all the trouble, contact your eye doctor about getting a new glasses prescription.

Headaches are a common sign that you need a new glasses prescription. It is probably caused by straining your eyes, double vision, or squinting and can affect your everyday life. It is important to talk to your eye doctor if your vision is causing your headaches because you will need a new glasses prescription to fix the issue.

Squinting is looking at someone, or something with one or both eyes partially closed to see more clearly or as a reaction to strong light. You might squint when you need stronger lenses because you can no longer see as far away. It is a natural way of improving your eye’s focus and clarity, but it can also indicate that you need a new glasses prescription. It can harm the eye from eye strain and cause headaches, blurred vision, and double vision.

Wear them out. Double Vision & Other Temporary Impairments

Most eye doctors state that adjusting to a new glasses prescription takes 24 to 48 hours. Remember that everyone is different; some people take longer than others to adjust fully. Ensure you wear those new glasses every day for at least the first day. When you wake up in the morning, you should put on your new glasses first. It may be tough initially, but your eyes need every chance they can adjust to your new glasses prescription. And remember not to put on the glasses at random points throughout the day, or else you can feel dizzy and disoriented from the sudden change. Doing it first thing in the morning forces your eyes to focus on the new glasses prescription. However, if you experience dizziness or any headache, you should take off your glasses until these symptoms pass.

It is very normal for people with a new glasses prescription to experience a phenomenon known as visual or peripheral distortion. Visual distortion is defined as any impairment that affects your ability to see. You might experience double vision, sensitivity to light (also known as photophobia), or decreased peripheral vision. The most common symptoms, though, are decreased vision, inability to determine the distance of objects, mild headaches, and eye strain or irritation. This is normal in the beginning stages of adjusting to a new glasses prescription. However, you should consult with your ophthalmologist if you have any serious concerns.

If you feel tempted to return to your old pair of glasses because the new glasses prescription is bothering you, do not do it! This will only make things more difficult for you and your eyes in the long run, as you will eventually need to revert back to the new pair anyways. Unless the symptoms are significant, it is important for you to endure the changes. If it helps, hide your old glasses to resist any temptation. You need to try your hardest to adjust to your new glasses prescription.

Move your head

One significant way of decreasing your chances of developing dizziness and headaches as you adjust to your new glasses prescription is by moving your head instead of your eyes. This means that when you turn to look at something, you move your entire head to look at it instead of simply shifting your eyes. It can take a bit of practice to get used to doing this, but it will come naturally to you after a while. It lessens the strain on your eyes and gives your eyes better opportunities to focus and adjust, something that is much needed during this adjustment period for your new glasses prescription.

Keep it clean

Keeping it clean is the way to go. Before you put on your new glasses prescription first thing in the morning, clean the lens using clear water or lens cleaner and a soft cloth. New glasses with smudges, dust, and other messy things can make the adjustment even more difficult because your eyes must focus and strain harder. Make sure you clean your glasses consistently, and if you notice dust building up on them throughout the day, clean them as well to keep them from getting unmanageable.

A big part of keeping your new glasses clean is to keep them safe overnight. This means storing them in their case so that dust and dirt can’t accumulate throughout the night on your frames. It also prevents the glasses from being bent or scratched, impeding you from properly adjusting to your new glasses prescription.

Lifestyle Adjustments for New Prescriptions

optometrist-giving-new-glasses
  • Gradual Transition: Begin by wearing the new glasses for just a couple of hours a day, allowing your eyes and brain to adapt to the change in vision gradually. Increase wearing time by an hour or two each day to ease the adjustment period and reduce any initial discomfort or dizziness.
  • Visual Exercises: Implement visual exercises such as switching focus from near to far objects regularly or practicing eye tracking. These exercises can help your ocular muscles adapt to the new level of correction and improve focus and coordination with your new lenses.
  • Environment Adjustments: Adjust the brightness and contrast on your digital screens to comfortable levels, and ensure your living and workspace have adequate lighting. These changes can help minimize eye strain and make the transition to your new prescription less jarring.
  • Safety Considerations: Be cautious with activities that require depth perception, such as driving, sports, or operating machinery, until you feel confident with your new visual capabilities. It’s important to recognize that your reaction times and spatial awareness might temporarily change as you adapt to your new glasses.
  • Patience and Mindfulness: Understand that it takes time for the brain to adjust to a new prescription. Be patient with the process and mindful of the changes in your vision. If you experience prolonged discomfort or other issues, consult with your eye care professional to ensure the prescription is correct and that there aren’t other underlying issues.

Conclusion

Adjusting to a new glasses prescription is a multifaceted process that involves not only getting used to the physical sensation of new lenses but also making necessary lifestyle adjustments. A gradual transition to wearing the new glasses, performing targeted visual exercises, making environmental tweaks, and proceeding with caution during activities that require sharp vision can significantly aid in this adaptation. Patience is crucial, as the brain and eyes may need time to acclimate to the changes in vision. If difficulties persist, it’s important to consult with an eye care professional to ensure the prescription is correct and to address any other potential issues.