Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can I wear a torn contact?"
I accidentally tore the contact for my left eye just a little bit when I was taking out my lenses last night before bed. I am out of the country. I do not have another pair of contacts to wear. My glasses are home. Is it better to just wear the one contact in my right eye, or am I okay to insert the torn contact in my left eye just for a couple more days until I can get home to see my doctor?
This is an unfortunate situation. It is unsafe to wear the torn contact as it can cause many problems such as a scratch on your cornea (which would be very painful) or an infection in your eye. Neither of which you want to deal with when away from home. Unfortunately, wearing just one contact can cause strain on your eyes and sometimes cause your depth perception to be off. If your vision is bad enough that you absolutely need to wear the one contact to be able to see and get around, I would suggest patching your other eye that is not wearing the contact. Be sure to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist when you return to your country to be sure that there was no damage done from the torn contact. If you notice any symptoms while you are still traveling, such as redness, pain, or drainage from your eye, you will need to seek care in the country you are in if possible. In summary, do not wear the damaged contact to avoid potentially serious eye conditions and next time you travel pack an extra pair of contacts and your glasses as backup to avoid this situation.
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