How can I start wearing glasses again after wearing contacts for years?
October 31, 2010 4:44 PM   Subscribe

How can I start wearing glasses again after wearing contacts for years?

I am trying to wear eyeglasses more frequently after exclusively wearing contact lenses for the last fifteen years. I have been having some problems when I wear the glasses -- headaches, distorted vision, dizziness, glare, nausea, etc. The optometrist confirmed that my glasses are correct for my eyes, and says that my problems are because my brain is not used to the glasses (although I'm not fully convinced that better glasses wouldn't solve the problem). Do you have any recommendations on how to ease the transition back to glasses?
posted by yayjenny to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe get a second opinion. I've gone from contacts to glasses and not had that problem.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:52 PM on October 31, 2010

Wow, those are severe symptoms! I would get a second opinion from a different optometrist.

To ease yourself into wearing glasses, I would wear your contacts for the majority of your day. Towards the end of the day, when you're getting ready to go to bed soon, I would put on your glasses for increasing amounts of time.
posted by studioaudience at 4:52 PM on October 31, 2010

Speaking as a person who just yesterday found out, by going to a new optometrist, that the distorted vision I've been experiencing for years with my old glasses was in fact a real problem that was instantly solved by getting a new prescription, rather than some permanent defect of my eyes (or something in my imagination), I'm going to vote for getting a second opinion.
posted by facetious at 5:03 PM on October 31, 2010

Hmm, I'll go against the grain and say that I had the same issue after getting a new pair of glasses last summer with a prescription that matched my contacts (my old glasses were a very outdated prescription). I too had the weird distorted vision at first, but after a few days/a week or two of wearing the glasses all day, my vision seemed to even out. Now I don't have any problems with them, though I've gone back to wearing my contacts most of the time.

How long have you been wearing the new glasses?
posted by mesha steele at 5:06 PM on October 31, 2010

The amount of time since you got the new glasses is important here. I've only ever worn glasses, but the adjustment from one prescription to the next generally takes me about a week. Now that I have progressives, it took me about ten days before I got completely comfortable.
posted by Gilbert at 5:11 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I exclusively wear contacts for generally 4-5 months and I'll go for a week or two with glasses. I always get the headaches, distorted vision, dizziness, glare and nausea.

A lot of the headaches are because my face is tense. Like, I'm scrunching the muscles in my face and head to hold my glasses up or adjust them, making sure your glasses sit/rest perfectly on your face is good. Go to your local eyeglass selling place and get free adjustments. Also, consciously relaxing your head muscles is good.
I don't need to tense my muscles because my glasses sit well, but, I'm not used to them on my face and I'm afraid they'll fall off so I tense up.
For me it takes at least 2 weeks before my I finally relax, but, usually by that time I'm ready to go back to contacts.

The dizziness and distorted vision usually go away in two or three days. There's a huge difference between lenses on your eye that conform to the shape and lenses that sit in front of your eye that are not the shape of your eye, but also don't cover your entire field of vision.
That just takes some getting used to.
posted by simplethings at 5:36 PM on October 31, 2010

I had pretty severe vertigo trying to go between contacts and glasses, so I had to pick one and stick with it. I believe this is true because I have an extremely high prescription. Is that also true for you? If so, give it some time. It took me about 2 weeks to adjust.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:03 PM on October 31, 2010

It may be the material the lenses are made from. If it is polycarbonate, the way it bends the light creates more glare. If you have a strong RX, or asked for the lightest weight lenses, you may be wearing Polycarbonate.

Consider an anti-reflective coating to ease some of these problems. If that doesn't work, the optical shop/DR should refit you into a different material at no cost as a usual standard of care practice.

I would suggest you take a copy of your prescription and the new glasses to a different office/chain, and have the optician there check them, as well as the measurement of your interpupillary distance (known as P.D.). Also have them check the placement of the optical center on you- if you do have a strong RX, and the OC sits too far above or below your pupil, your vision will not be optimal.

In my 25 years as an optician, I've seen that it can take some time to readjust to glasses, especially if you wore your CL's overnight, or every waking moment. Have the glasses checked by someone else, and return to the Dr/Optician if there is no improvement within a couple weeks.
posted by Stellaboots at 6:04 PM on October 31, 2010

I recommend getting a second opinion. I had trouble transitioning too. When I would read, all the words would have little shadows and I had a headache from the new lenses. The first optometrist thought it was because I had a stressful job that my vision on my left eye was jumping around +50. Well, that turned out to be a bunch of crap because when I saw a second optometrist for the problem, he adjusted the lenses to a lower power and they were fine. Your lense power could very well be too high.
posted by barnacle fan at 6:07 PM on October 31, 2010

I went the opposite way (glasses for 40+ years with a brief attempt at wearing contacts in my teens). I had trouble because I was going from progressive lenses to monocular contact lenses. I also have one eye that is near-sighted, the other far-sighted, and astigmatisms in both eyes; not an easy prescription. My doctor suggested to stop using my glasses completely until I fully adapted to the monocular lenses. Now I can wear my glasses at night or on the weekends without any problems.

So if you are switching back and forth stop and just use your glasses. I think that you have to power through, but if it doesn't get better within a week or two, then definitely go get a second opinion. Also are they progressive lenses? Some people have a hard time adjusting to them. I heard that it's worth it to pay top dollar for really good lenses (Zeiss). Progressive lenses are expensive, really good progressive lenses are even more expensive, but worth it in the end.
posted by kaybdc at 6:41 PM on October 31, 2010

I wore contacts from age 12 to about 38 or so, when I developed an allergy to - something. The solution, the materials, I never knew. When I switched back to glasses I had the same problem at first. Like barnacle fan, for me the solution was to switch to a slightly weaker prescription.

Bonus: it also eliminated the need for two pairs of glasses (I had previously had to switch between distance glasses and reading glasses, and had worn reading glasses with my contacts on occasion).
posted by chez shoes at 6:46 PM on October 31, 2010

datapoint: it took me a couple weeks to get used to my new glasses after I upped my prescription and started wearing the glasses more frequently in the evening. I have a fairly strong prescription, which might also be a factor (-6.00).
posted by stray at 7:48 PM on October 31, 2010

Get another opinion.

My datapoint contribution: 3 months' worth of headaches disappeared when I went to a new optometrist, and got a revised (weaker) Rx - I'm nearsighted. My contact lens Rx is weaker than my new (correct) glasses Rx. I don't have issues switching back and forth. I did have issues switching between Rx glasses & sunglasses when I had the stronger (incorrect) Rx.

I wear glasses exclusively, except for physical activities where glasses are a hindrance. Astigmatisms in both eyes meant I never did much work or reading with contacts in.
posted by swngnmonk at 8:02 PM on October 31, 2010

Another vote for a second opinion here. I wore contacts for years, until I got tired of dealing with them, and the switch to glasses took maybe a day or two to get used to. The only time I had glasses that gave me headaches, etc., for any longer than that, it turned out the prescription was too strong for me.
posted by sarcasticah at 10:43 PM on October 31, 2010

it is quite convenient for you to get a pair of eyeglasses online now.
posted by funlooking at 11:29 PM on November 28, 2010

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