Whaaaaaaaa! I don't like my new glasses.
August 5, 2011 6:07 PM   Subscribe

My nice, expensive new glasses hurt my eyes and after 20 minutes, leave me feeling dizzy and slightly nauseous. The guy who sold them says he followed the prescription accurately. What's the cheapest remedy?

Sorry if this is a stupid question but I tend to wear the same pair of glasses for about a decade before replacing them, so I feel out of the loop.

I'm mildly near-sighted and astigmatic (just enough that I need glasses to drive) and my new lenses give me an impression of exaggerated depth and I strain to shift focus. Glancing around makes me dizzy. They just feel too powerful.

I followed the shopkeeper's recommendation to pay for an in-store eye exam before ordering them but the examiner seemed to rush through it. The owner/salesman say's there's nothing he can do to rectify my problem. It's a small, independent eyeglass shop in Toronto.

I've been happy with all my previous eye ware. Could I just take these new frames another store and get lenses made that are the same prescription as my old pair?
posted by bonobothegreat to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How new are the glasses? I find that it takes me a week to adjust to new glasses. Perhaps give it a week and then reassess.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:10 PM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

1) Try them for a few days (as long as you can stand at a time). My new glasses always do that to me too, I just get used to them after a while.

2) If you still have problems with them, your eye doctor will have a little laser tool thing that can actually measure them and verify whether or not they match the prescription. S/he may or may not do this for free (mine would), it only takes a second.

3) If correct and they still bother you... I run out of suggestions at this point.
posted by pla at 6:10 PM on August 5, 2011

How long have you had them? Your eyes have probably gotten a little worse since your last exam, and so your prescription is a little stronger than the one your eyes were used to. Sometimes it just takes a little time to adjust. But you'll be glad you did.
posted by bleep at 6:11 PM on August 5, 2011

Have you only been wearing them for 20 minutes at a time? It's been my experience that it can take a little bit of time for the brain to adjust to new glasses, particularly if you've been using an old prescription for a long time. I would try wearing the glasses for a few days and see if you're still having issues before looking into getting some new glasses.
posted by Diagonalize at 6:12 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, when I got my new glasses, they told me to expect dizziness and nausea at first while I adjust to them. They also said to not try to force myself to adjust. So, if you feel bad, take them off. Put them on again another time, and you'll gradually get used to them.

It's weird that the salesperson said they can't do anything about it, though. Perhaps he or she meant they can't do anything about it unless you get another exam?
posted by katillathehun at 6:13 PM on August 5, 2011

Response by poster: Wow...instant consensus. I'll give it a week. I just don't understand why it's not good to just keep the same old prescription - I could see just as well with the old ones.

posted by bonobothegreat at 6:16 PM on August 5, 2011

If you don't trust the glasses, I don't see why you can't get a second exam. However, just because you could see well enough with the old ones doesn't mean everything was fine. Your eyes may have changed ever so slightly, and so your old prescription might have been causing eye strain you didn't notice.
posted by katillathehun at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'll be the voice of dissent, and say the prescription is probably too strong. If you feel you could see just as well with your old prescription, you probably didn't need a change. The process isn't the most exact, mistakes are made. Talk to your doctor.
posted by catatethebird at 6:20 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

The dizziness is more likely to be an issue of where the "center" is than what the prescription is. They measured your pupillary distance I'm sure and they try to keep it accurate/consistent, but every pair will sit slightly differently, and it will take a while to get used to it. Which is to say... in my experience it takes about a week to adjust to new glasses :).
posted by brainmouse at 6:21 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

My new glasses were brutal for the first few days. It was honestly so bad I considered bringing them back. Headachey, awkwardly disconcerting when moving my head. Got totally used to it in about a week.
posted by disillusioned at 6:28 PM on August 5, 2011

Don't just go by his "saying" that they're accurate; compare your prescription numbers to the numbers on his order sheet. I once had the guy mistype a number, making it a 220 when it should have been a 22, and got the symptoms you describe. I went back to the store, and the same guy denied the problem until his supervisor looked at the order and noticed the discrepancy.
posted by Melismata at 6:33 PM on August 5, 2011

I wear glasses for decades as well and sound like my issues with my eyes are the same. I have not had the same issue with new glasses. I would wear them for a few days, but yes, you can get new lenses with your old prescription if the shop carries the same brand. My guess is that you had gotten used to your old lenses and they were not the correct prescription anymore.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:34 PM on August 5, 2011

If you don't get used to them within a week, go back to the shop and get your eyes remeasured. Be sure to tell them that you feel the glasses are too strong. They can dial back the prescription and should remake your glasses free of charge (this happened to me...twice.)
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:39 PM on August 5, 2011

I had this recently with a pair of sunglasses from my eye doctor. I got used to them within a week or so. However, when I called them to ask about replacing them they did say they could get me one lens replacement (with a lower or my old prescription) free of charge if it still bothered me in a few weeks - if this guy has been so resistant to that it may or may not be something they're willing to do at this particular place.
posted by Lady Li at 6:45 PM on August 5, 2011

I've had a pair of glasses made wrong. Just couldn't see right with them. After a day or so I took them to another eye shop with my prescription, asked them to check if they matched the prescription -- it turned out they didn't.
I would give it a day or two, but go get another shop to check them. (And possibly go get another exam if you think this guy screwed up the exam.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:45 PM on August 5, 2011

I had glasses I purchased over the Internet that just did not seem to work right and were hard to wear for long periods of time. I took them to my eye doctor's and a technician told me they matched my prescription, and I should give them a week or two to get used to. I forced myself to wear them for a week with no change, before going back and asking to see the optometrist, who tested the lenses himself and told me that they were not, in fact, made correctly, and would have to be replaced.
posted by deadweightloss at 6:58 PM on August 5, 2011

If your new lenses are polycarbonate, and your old ones were not, you may be a polycarbonate non-adapt, and it will be impossible to get used to them. People typically describe it as a "fishbowl" effect, and there can be a color halo, especially around bright fluorescent lights. I mostly had a bizarre depth of field (plus a slight halo), so I walked like a drunk person trying not to look drunk. I also found out, a second set of lenses later, that the same effect can sometimes persist with high-refractive index materials, and so I can only use plain old plastic lenses. So, if the prescription is truly right, and if you don't get used to them in a few days, that's another possible solution for you to explore.
posted by syanna at 7:08 PM on August 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

This always happens to me with new glasses, but I did actually get some glasses that were wrong once. They still felt terrible after a couple of days, so I went back and they'd gotten a number in the prescription wrong. It happens.
posted by Mavri at 7:10 PM on August 5, 2011

If you're astigmatic, the lens might be very slightly rotated. Some people can handle a moderate rotation, some can't -- my mother becomes dizzy with as little as one degree of rotation. Something to consider.
posted by KathrynT at 7:37 PM on August 5, 2011

How big is the change in your prescription? I'm also mildly shortsighted (first identified 18 years ago), but I have had new glasses at least every 2-3 years since and have never had any difficulty adusting to new prescriptions. You may think that you could see fine with your old glasses, but they could have been much lower power than your eyes need now. If it's a big change I would agree you may need tie to adjust to it.

Also, was your pupillary dostance measuered correctly? I have unusually close-together eyes, which has never been a problem with glasses, since they are made to precise pupillary distance measurements. However my prescription swimming goggles aren't and I defintely notice an odd, disorientating effect with them.
posted by *becca* at 7:42 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've had issues before when getting glasses and I've had to keep going back until I finally ended up with a different salesman/technician who believed that I was having real problems other than just getting used to a new pair.

Last time it turned out the frames had gotten ever so slightly bent at some point (before I even picked them up) and after a couple of minor adjustments I could see again without the headaches and depth perception issues.
posted by weskit at 7:58 PM on August 5, 2011

The last time I got new eyeglasses they bothered me too. There's an adjustment the optometrist made -- I can't remember the name, but he basically made them more 'slanted', i.e. the bottoms of the lenses were closer to my face than the tops of the lenses. It made the fit much better.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:34 PM on August 5, 2011

Well I would give it a few more days first.

However this is why I don't recommend getting your eyes checked by the same place selling them to you. They are biased in terms of you needing new glasses. My fiance got his first exam and glasses at LensCrafters. A few years later I convinced him to go to a real eye doc since he had insurance, and the doc told him that his prescription was so light he could have bought $5 readers at the drugstore instead of the $250 ones he had.
posted by radioamy at 8:49 PM on August 5, 2011

I had glasses from the interwebs once that were made with a pupil distance off by about 5mm. In PD terms that's a ton, and it caused EXACTLY the sensation you describe, like they're trying to make your eyes focus farther than you want, and nothing at close range feels right. They're wrong, it's not you, verify with a third party.
posted by slow graffiti at 11:12 PM on August 5, 2011

Are you diabetic? If a person's blood sugar level fluctuates from the time that they had their eye exam, it can (sometimes even drastically) change the prescription of the glasses.
Otherwise, I'd go back to the optometrist's office and get re-checked; have them read the prescription, and see if anything can be tweaked to accommodate you better. If they don't find anything, go elsewhere and get it checked. If needed, have them compare your new prescription to your old one to note the change.
posted by itchie at 4:02 AM on August 6, 2011

Along with the fact that new glasses always tend to cause some disorientation, one thing you can get checked at another optician is the focal point of the glasses - does it match up to where your pupils are? Did he measure that when making up the prescription? I had inexplicable trouble with an expensive pair for ages until I discovered that the focus was off in one of the lens and it isn't something that can be fixed after the fact.
posted by infini at 4:34 AM on August 6, 2011

I'm one of those who think that if they still don't seem to work right after a week, get them and your prescription checked - at a different eye doctor.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:28 AM on August 6, 2011

Maybe I'm a glasses snob, or maybe I have an easy correction, but proper glasses shouldn't cause headaches. Especially if you didn't get headaches when you first got the old pair.

Glasses should make seeing clearly *less* stressful, not more. When I've got a bad pair of glasses (thank you Zenni Optical!) putting them on makes me feel instantly cross-eyed, and instantly get double vision or lack of proper focus in both eyes at the same time.

They might not be wrong, but they may be maladjusted. Both lenses need to be the exact same distance from the eyes, and centered properly. This often takes a bit of bending. If you can move the glasses around on your face to a point where everything looks right, then you just need to adjust the nosepads and ear-stalks to get it right.

This is different from just adjusting to a different lens curve, like syanna relates. I normally wear contact lenses, and when I put my glasses on, everything looks smaller. Quarters look like nickles, and depth perception is a little off. This is disconcerting, but not "wrong".

Also, the optometrist's machine might not have been set right. I had an exam one time where something wasn't set right, and it wasn't pleasant. Get another exam, if not from a different shop, at least from the same shop with a different person doing the exam. There is some subjectivity in there.
posted by gjc at 7:07 AM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any reputable optician (local, not internet) should remake glasses for you at no charge. The cost is not in the materials, and a certain amount of remaking is built into the cost. I went through quite a few remakes several years ago when I was having trouble with lenses. And any reasonable optometrist should give you another exam with no charge if you're having trouble with your new lenses (and assuming they're made correctly to the RX. A surprising number are not).

I'd certainly give them a few days unless you can't see at all or are in a lot of discomfort, but after that, if they won't replace the lenses and/or re-examine your eyes, either insist on a refund and go somewhere else, or dispute the charge with your credit card company. No matter what you've paid for them, there's no reason to accept glasses that aren't right. And - speaking from experience followed by a LOT of research - there's a lot of margin for error in both the exams and the lens making.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 9:28 AM on August 6, 2011

It's more pronounced with stronger prescriptions, but getting the IPD (distance between pupil centers) wrong on a pair of glasses can produce the effect you describe or worse. My partner got a pair of glasses with an IPD for close work and found he had double vision attempting to use the same glasses for distances farther away than arm's length.

If the problems don't fade within a few days as your eyes get accustomed to the new prescription, firmly insist the optician make things right. Let them know you've already told (because you will have) your friends, coworkers, and acquaintances about your experience with the business and will be keeping them up to date about the eventual resolution.
posted by thatdawnperson at 3:39 PM on August 6, 2011

Response by poster: Went back after a week to say I was still having headaches. The stop keeper very amenable this time. I had a second exam and a new prescription that was closer to my old one. The new lenses are much better.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2011

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