Information for First Time Prism Wearers


Upon first picking up the new glasses and after the alignment of the frame has been completed, it is important to remain in the office for about 15 minutes to allow the eyes and body to make the initial adjustment to the new glasses. This is especially important when driving home in the new prescription for the first time.

There are many new experiences patients have when adjusting to a prism prescription. Be patient with the process. It will create a “new normal” for you, where the desired outcome is for your symptoms to be reduced or eliminated.

  1. The glasses are to be worn on a full time basis. This means putting them on upon rising from the bed in the morning and removing them just before lying down at night.

  2. Many prism patients have no-line bifocals or progressive lenses in their glasses. It is important to remember to point your nose at objects you are trying to look at, instead of looking out of the side of the lens. Initially, this will feel different, however, in a short while it will feel natural to make these head adjustments with this new lens.

  3. The alignment of the frame on the face is very important. Should the frame become tilted or out of alignment, please feel free to return to the office at any time for an adjustment of the glasses. It is not necessary to make a special appointment for this visit.

  4. It takes some patients a couple of days to feel less strain on their eyes as they adjust to the new prescription. They describe it as a feeling that their eyes are moving in a new direction, causing an “eye awareness” which resolves itself as their eyes settle in to a comfortable position with the new prescription.

  5. Patients often feel an improvement in their neck strain. They find themselves tilting their head less to one side than before wearing the prism glasses. They feel as if their neck is elongated.

  6. Some patients describe that they feel taller, and that a weight has been lifted off of their head. They describe not feeling as heavy and tied to the ground with the new prescription. They also don’t feel the need to stare at the ground in front of them as they walk. They feel more secure in their footing, especially going up and down steps.

  7. Depth perception is improved when looking through prism for the first time. This can result in the patient feeling that their awareness of their body in space is different. They might reach out to touch something in a new location. Their footing on the ground, though more stable and more secure, will also feel different.

  8. Some patients find that sleeping is easier when the room is totally without light. Since most rooms cannot be made 100% dark, a blackout sleeping mask can help. It is put on immediately after the prism glasses have been removed.

  9. Some patients become worse when they take off their glasses to take a shower. To avoid this, an adhesive eye patch (made by Nexcare) can be placed over one eye when the glasses are removed for showering. The staff can recommend which eye would be the best one to patch.

  10. Your eye misalignment has caused the muscles around your eyes to be very tense and tight. The first set of lenses will begin to relax those muscles, which will bring relief of your symptoms. However, as this “progressive relaxation” occurs, your alignment and your vision will change, and it is not uncommon for your symptoms to start to return. For the average patient, this occurs from 1½ to 3 weeks after you started wearing the glasses. This is an expected part of this treatment, and it will require you to have a modification to the first prescription. Therefore, before you leave today, you will be scheduled for a Progress Assessment appointment.

  11. Your glasses have been custom made to reduce your symptoms as well as to improve your vision. For most people, the new glasses are comfortable and make them feel better from the first moment they wear them. For others, it can take a few days to adjust to the glasses.
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However, a few patients have a difficult time adjusting to the glasses. While there are many possible reasons why this could be, the good news is that the problem can almost always be fixed. If you have been unable to adjust to the glasses from the day you picked them up and you call to let us know within 10 days of receiving your glasses, we will get you into the office and have the optician evaluate the glasses and the prescription, and if that doesn’t resolve the issue, you will be scheduled to have the optometrist re-examine you at no charge.