How Long Does It Take to Get Used to Contact Lenses?

Extreme close up of a young male adult holding a contact lens getting ready to insert into his eye with his finger.

One major issue new contact lens wearers face is the adjustment period. Sometimes, it takes a few hours to two weeks to adapt to contact lenses. You may experience mild discomfort or, in the worst cases, persistent discomfort. However, there are coping mechanisms to ensure your eyes get used to those contacts.

In this article, we will look at the several factors that affect your adaptation time and how to make the entire process easy for you, especially the first-time wearers.

Types of Contact Lenses And How They Feel


There are different types of contact lenses out there. Your eye doctor will consider your needs before assigning you any contact lenses. Let’s look at the contact lens types: 

  1. Soft Contact Lenses: Like the name, these contacts are soft and penetrable. They allow for the free passage of oxygen. Wearing these contact lenses, you experience comfort with no hitches. Most eye care practitioners recommend them to those wearing contact lenses for the first time.
  2. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses: These lenses are the opposite of soft lenses. Rigid and durable materials are used in their production. Most eye professionals call them hard lenses. When wearing these contacts, you may experience discomfort, although your eyes adjust with time.
  3. Hybrid Lenses: Here, you will find the benefits of hard and soft lenses. While there is a hard center, you’ll find a soft outer ring. Also, while it is more expensive than other contacts, the comfort level varies with individuals.
  4. Scleral Contact Lenses: These lenses are similar to the Rigid Gas Permeable lenses. However, there’s a large diameter and covers the corneal surface and sclera (white part of the eye). You may experience some discomfort and pains, but it goes away with time.

Initial Adjustment Period

There is no one-size-fits-all-all for getting used to wearing contacts. You will adapt at your own pace, and so will another person.

Usually, most people need about 10-12 days to adjust to their contacts. Although, there have been cases where more than two weeks were the adjustment time.

Adjusting to your contacts involves learning to clean, sanitize, store, and even remove your lenses. Wearing contact lenses for the first time, you don’t need to rush the process. You can have a wear time of 5-15 minutes or even more. Remember, patience is a huge key to a successful transition to wearing contact lenses.

Factors Affecting Adaptation Time

As previously stated, it may take one to two weeks for new lens wearers to completely adjust to their new contacts. Some factors can affect your adaptation time and they include:

  1. Eye Sensitivity: If you have dry or sensitive eyes, it will take you a while to adjust to wearing contacts. Your eye care practitioner can prescribe medicated eye drops, or you can purchase over the counter drops.
  2. Lens Type: When you wear contacts made from soft hydrogels or use those with thinner lenses, you lessen your adjustment period.
  3. Individual Eye Anatomy: While correcting vision, each person has a unique eye anatomy. So, your eye care practitioner must ensure the lenses sit on your eyes comfortably. When not done, it affects your adjustment.
  4. Previous Wearing of Contact Lenses: The number of hours/days it takes a first-timer is different from that of someone who has been wearing contact lenses for a long while.

Tips for Easier Adaptation

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If you own new contact lenses or still need help with your lenses, below are a few tips to help with adaptation.

  1. Follow Your Eye Doctor’s Instructions: Your eye doctor will give instructions on how to wear and care for your lenses. To avoid vision issues, follow those instructions to the highest. Also, pay attention to how your contact lenses feel throughout the week and report to your eye care practitioner.
  2. Practice Proper Care Hygiene: If you don’t have proper care, you’re at risk for eye infections. Good hygiene involves how to handle and care for them. You must wash your hands with soap and water, ensuring they are germ-free before touching them. Don’t forget to clean your lens with the appropriate contact solution and store it in the lens case.
  3. Follow the Recommended Wearing and Replacement Schedules: Only wear your contact lenses for the required period. Avoid sleeping in them unless prescribed by your eye specialist. Give your eyes a break during the day by switching to your glasses. If maintenance is an issue for you, go for daily disposable lenses.
  4. Know the Possible Side Effects: See your contact lens as foreign objects to your eyes, meaning it need time to adjust. Therefore, you are bound to face mild eye issues such as blurred vision, eye fatigue, and discomfort.

How To Get Used to Wearing Contact Lenses?

For eye conditions such as presbyopia and astigmatism, you need special prescriptions. Multifocal contacts and monovision prescriptions help correct both far and near vision. For a monovision, you need two weeks to adjust. For multifocal contacts, you need time to adjust. You may experience shadowy objects on close objects for about a week before they disperse. On the brighter side, contacts for astigmatism don’t take much time for adjustment.

While you may face vision disturbances during your adaptation period, visit your eye care professional if your symptoms persist. Let’s look at how you can get used to wearing contact lenses.

  1. After putting on your contacts, give yourself a few minutes to relax and feel the lenses in your eyes.
  2. For remembrance, you can set alarms for when to remove and clean your contact lenses.
  3. If you experience eye strain or irritation, remove your lenses and take a break.

When to Consult an Eye Care Professional

What you may have considered normal may need the urgent care of an eye care practitioner. You must be alert and know when to consult your eye care practitioner. If you experience any of the following, speak to an eye care professional:

  1. Eye Strain: Eye strain usually comes from the type of lens or wear length. During an eye strain, you will experience symptoms like headaches, burning sensation, light sensitivity, and double vision.
  2. Prolonged Irritation: You must know when what you consider normal becomes abnormal. Minor irritation is normal for the first week of wearing contacts. However, discontinue and visit your eye care professional if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks.
  3. Eye Infection: Improper use and care of your contact lenses can lead to infections. Failure to adopt good hygiene practices opens you up to infections and may need surgery. 

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While being a gradual process, adjusting to your contact lenses can sometimes be rough and exhausting. It becomes exhausting when new lenses are involved. It is not uncommon for you to experience mild issues like blurry vision, but know when to consult your eye care professional.

All contact lens wearers must abide by all rules the eye care professional gives. This also involves taking a much-needed break and allowing your eyes to rest to avoid any long-term discomfort.

To have a good contact lens experience, take patience and good hygiene as a virtue.