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Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

The term ‘conjunctivitis’ refers to an inflammation of the membranes that line the eyelids and front of the eye. Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is an inflammatory disorder that usually develops in contact lens wearers. GPC can result from a reaction to contact lens protein deposits contact lens mechanical irritation or soft contact lens material sensitivity. Early symptoms can include itching of eyes ropy mucous discharge fluctuating vision and excessive contact lens movement. The conjunctiva lining the underside of the upper lid tends to form giant nodules (known as papillae) that look like cobblestones. The papillae are only visible by turning the eyelid inside out.

Management of GPC depends on the severity of the symptoms and signs. For mild cases treatment involves a combination of replacing current contact lenses reviewing proper contact lens care procedures increasing frequency of lens replacement and decreasing lens wearing time. One popular option is the use of daily disposable lenses which have been shown to limit symptoms while GPC resolves and can significantly reduce the chances of developing GPC in the first place.

For moderate to severe cases of GPC discontinuing contact lens wear is sometimes necessary. GPC will usually resolve on its own but it may take many weeks to months before the condition has fully cleared. Short courses of topical medications may be prescribed to limit symptoms and allow faster resolution. For contact lens wearers who do not want to permanently wear spectacles the lenses must remain out of the eye until the condition has fully cleared. Excellent eye hygiene and frequent lens changes help to reduce the risk of occurrence. As it may recur once contact lens use resumes it is important for periodic contact lens assessments with your eyecare practitioner.

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