Geraint Jones' loan at Gloucestershire has been cut short after the Kent wicketkeeper contracted an eye problem.
The 37-year-old was due to stay at Bristol until the end of next week.
However, he has now returned to Kent because of a problem with fluid behind a retina in his eye and could be out for up to six weeks.
"He showed some excellent skills and leadership on the field. That's something you can't replace," said director of cricket John Bracewell.
"For a wicketkeeper to conduct a performance and help the captain out is essential.
"Both of our wicketkeepers are very young and inexperienced in that regard."
Former England player Jones is second choice at Canterbury as Sam Billings has been preferred this season.
Jones was brought in at Gloucestershire in May to cover for Gareth Roderick, who was ruled out for six weeks with a broken finger.
He played three County Championship matches for the Division Two side, taking six catches and scoring 136 runs with the bat, and two T20 blast games, where he scored 50 runs.
Bracewell confirmed it is unlikely the county will bring in another loan player and will continue to utilise 19-year-old second XI keeper Cameron Herring.