Eye Health Central

My Lens has split

7 step guide to a split lens

The lenses of your glasses can break, and a contact lens can split for many different reasons including wear and tear, manufacturing defects, poor handling, or physical stress. Regardless of what the cause is, when you experience a split lens, whether in your glasses or a contact lens, it's important to approach the situation calmly and with care. Here's what you should do if your lens splits:

1. Prioritise Safety

  • Contact Lenses: If a contact lens splits or tears in your eye, do not rub your eye as this can cause further irritation or injury. Just blink several times to see if the lens naturally moves to a position where it can be easily removed.
  • Eyeglasses: If a spectacle lens cracks or shatters while you're wearing it, make sure you carefully remove your glasses without putting pressure on the lenses to prevent further damage. And avoid touching any sharp edges.

Broken lens

2. Assess the Damage

Take a moment to stay calm and try to closely inspect the full extent of the split. 

Contact Lenses: Has your contact lens completely broken into two or more pieces, and have you removed all of the pieces of your contact lens?

Eyeglasses: Is it a minor chip or crack? Are your glasses still wearable? Are they completely unwearable?

3. Temporary Solutions

Contact Lenses: Unfortunately there's no quick, or temporary fix for a torn contact lens. It's essential you remove all the pieces immediately to avoid eye injury or infection. If you have a spare lens with you then you can reinsert a fresh lens

Eyeglasses: For small cracks, clear tape can serve as a temporary measure, but that’s all it is, unfortunately, temporary! Any cracks or chips in your glasses can be potentially harmful and or affect the clarity of vision offered by your glasses, so a quick fix is a great way to get you home, or to the optometrist but it's not a long lasting solution. 

4. Backup Plan

Contact Lenses: Always keep a spare set of contact lenses or glasses handy. If one lens tears, you can easily replace it with a new lens or remove the other lens and switch to glasses without ruining your day completely.

Eyeglasses: If you have an old pair of glasses, even if they aren't your current prescription, they can be useful in emergencies. Until you can replace the split lens or get a new pair, these would suffice in an emergency for short-term use.

5. Seek Professional Assistance

Contact Lenses: If you experience consistent tearing with your contact lenses, it could mean there is a problem with your handling technique, the lens batch, or fit. Consult the supplier of your contact lenses or your optometrist for recommendations. It is also worth performing a quick contact lens aftercare checkup at home

Eyeglasses: Visit your optometrist or re-order another pair online as soon as possible. Your optometrist can advise whether the lens can be repaired or if it needs a replacement. If your frame is damaged along with the lens, it might be time for a new pair of glasses.

6. Prevention is everything

Contact Lenses: Follow the proper lens care procedures for insertion and removal. Always wash your hands before handling, use the recommended cleaning solution, and do not wear them beyond their intended period.

Eyeglasses: Ensure your glasses have a protective case and always handle them with care. Check the tightness of the screws regularly and make sure you choose lenses made of materials known for their durability such as polycarbonate, especially if you have an active lifestyle.

7. Consider the Cause

  • Contact lenses: Was the lens ripped when you took it out of the blister or storage case? or, did the lens split whilst wearing it? Most cases of ripped or split lenses are due to handling error, either the lens has been folded, trapped, or scratched due to handling, causing a flaw that may not be noticeable to the human eye, and then due to the motion of blinking whilst wearing the lens, causes a tear.

    If you experience a ripped or torn contact lens, always check with your optometrist if you feel some of the lens remains in your eye.
    However, there are occasions when the fault can be traced back to a batch of lenses, speak to your optometrist or lens provider if you feel there is a fault with your contact lens.
  • Eyeglasses: Did the lens split due to an accident? Or did it crack under seemingly normal conditions? If the glasses were dropped, sat on, or crushed, then breakage is to be expected, if you feel your lens broke for no real reason then, speak with your glasses provider to try and work out what happened.


A split lens is inconvenient, but it doesn't have to be a major disruption to your day if there are no injuries caused. By taking immediate steps to ensure your safety and seeking professional guidance, you can get through the situation calmly and with ease.

Regular check-ups with your optometrist, carrying out regular contact lens aftercare checkups at home, and investing in quality eyewear can minimise the chances of facing such an event in the future. 

Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 19 Feb 2024, Last modified: 1 Jun 2024