Difficulties Adjusting to Reading Glasses

Your reading glasses will take some time to adjust to.
Your reading glasses will take some time to adjust to. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Getting reading glasses can be exciting but it can also cause some difficulties. There are some common symptoms people experience when adjusting to new glasses. For other, the symptoms are more severe. Knowing what will happen and what should not happen, will help you adjust to the glasses and know when to return to the optometrist.

Typical Symptoms

There are some symptoms which are known to occur when people first start using reading glasses, or change to a stronger prescription. The most common of these are headaches, eye strain and nausea and may extend to seeing rainbow colors and spots that are not actually there. These symptoms will usually pass with time and should not cause alarm. However, if more serious symptoms occur, you must see your optometrist at once.

Reading glasses may cause headaches at first.
Reading glasses may cause headaches at first. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Normal Time Frame

Typically it should only take you about a week to adjust to new reading glasses. In the first week you may experience some slight headaches or nausea and your vision may not be perfect even when wearing the glasses. This is because your eyes are adapting to the new lenses and your brain is trying its best to cope with this change.

If your symptoms have not improved after a week you need to return to your optician to have your eyes rechecked. Some people simply cannot adapt to wearing glasses, particularly if they need strong prescriptions. If this is the case, you may be prescribed contact lenses.

Drug Store vs. Custom Glasses

You are more likely to experience difficulties with cheap “one-size fits all” reading glasses that can be purchased at drug stores or supermarkets. Even if you have used them before, this problem can crop up as your eyes age.

Drug store glasses have the same prescription lens in both sides, whereas most people have one eye weaker than the other. Thus, these glasses are more likely to cause headaches, sore eyes and nausea. In these cases, it is better to see an optometrist and pay the extra money for tailor-made glasses.

Drug store glasses may look nice but they are cheap for a reason.
Drug store glasses may look nice but they are cheap for a reason. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)


If you are not used to glasses you may find them painful to wear at first and they may leave deep marks above your ears and at the top of your nose. Once again, this is normal and will go away after a little while. However, if after a week you are still finding them uncomfortable to wear, you probably need to have the size readjusted. Tell your optometrist about the problem and have the glasses adjusted.

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