Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an eye disorder commonly found with contact lens wearers. It is caused by an allergic reaction to a build-up of proteins on the contact lens and the upper eyelid starts to get swollen and itchy according to a report on ABC News. While not life threatening, giant papillary conjunctivitis can be painful and you should seek treatment immediately.
If you are about to wear contact lenses, especially soft ones, your eye doctor should already warn you of the symptoms of giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). Your eyelid will be swollen, itchy, and red. There will also be a measure of pain involved and it may be hard to see.
Mucus can also be present around the tear ducts as your eye tries to fight the reaction. The most obvious sign of GPC will be bumps that have formed and swelled underneath your upper eyelid. Wearers of any type of contact lenses can be affected in a report published by eMedicine from WebMD.
Roughly 15 percent of contact lens wearers get giant papillary conjunctivitis. Any type of lens may cause the problem but one study showed that 85 percent of cases come from patients wearing soft or hydrogel contact lenses.
Overall cases found that 20 percent of soft contact lens wearers are prone to get GPC whereas only five percent of rigid contact lens wearers will get this disorder. Conditions that aid in the formation of the red bumps include poor cleaning, heat sterilization, rough edges on the lenses, and wearing them for longer than you should.
Solutions and Treatment
There are many things you can do at home to prevent getting this painful swelling. If you wear daily contact lenses you must dispose of them every single day, cleaning your contact lenses is also essential if you have permanent ones. Wear your contact lenses only as long as you need to and don’t forget to take them out at night when you sleep.
If you’ve already gotten giant papillary conjunctivitis your eye doctor will probably recommend you not wear your contact lenses during treatment. Patients will likely be given allergy drops to put in their eyes on a regular basis until the inflammation ceases and the eyelid is back to normal.
Long Term Effects
Regular infections of the eye can cause long-term damage to the cornea so you will want to make sure you take care of your contact lenses and your eyes properly. Although no one dies from giant papillary conjunctivitis it is irritating and painful.
Consider wearing regular glasses instead of contacts if you can. Laser surgery is also another option to preventing a recurrence of GPC. Simply taking care of your contacts and your eyes by following your eye doctor’s instructions may also be the key in keeping your eyes healthy during the time you wear your contact lenses.
In the end it will be up to you as to what to do about your giant papillary conjunctivitis. If you get it regularly then you may want to do something other than wear contact lenses. Consult with your eye doctor about the best course of action for the health of your eyes.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you have swelling in your eyes see your eye doctor immediately. ABC News and eMedicine from WebMD were my sources for this article.