Reader Question: Is It Safe to Wear a Torn Contact Lens?



I was running late this morning. While doing my morning routine, I noticed that my contact had the slightest little tear on the side. I needed to be able to wear my sunglasses today and this happened to be my last pair of contact lenses, so I had no other choice but to put it in. I wore it most of the day and it didn’t bother me too much. Was this ok? The tear wasn’t very big. Thanks for your help. Sincerely – A.E.


Dear A.E.: I’m sorry to hear about your contact lens tear, but I must say, with full conviction and concern for your health, that you should absolutely, positively, never do that again.

A torn lens in your eye is a recipe for disaster. Not only can the tear scratch your cornea (let me assure you that the discomfort and inconvenience of dealing with a corneal abrasion is not worth it), but the lens could also collect other bacteria in that tiny tear that could bring other infections and problems to your eye.

In other words, no matter what, don’t wear a ripped lens!

My best suggestions for you, to avoid being put in the position where wearing a ripped contact lens is your best option for the day (and let me repeat, it’s never a good option), are to set a reminder on your smart phone to re-order your contact lenses so you always have a back-up pair. Granted, contact lenses are well made now and I could count on one hand the amount of torn contacts I have dealt with in the last decade. But, it’s always good to have a spare…just in case.

You may also want to consider joining something like the America’s Best Eyecare Club so you can order all of your lenses for the year at one time. You’ll save big money this way and always be prepared with spare just in case!

One final thought, if your need for sunglasses was mandating your risky contact lens move, then perhaps you should also consider getting some prescription sunglasses. Or, another possibility, would be getting your spare pair of eyeglasses made with Transitions lenses so they would act as sunglasses when you are outside and need them. Let’s face it, we all have days when lack of sleep or allergies may have our eyes less than content to wear contact lenses. So, having that spare pair of designer eyeglasses or sunglasses on hand ready for whatever situation you need them in, is always a great idea!

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