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Conjunctivitis comes in many types. We’ve mentioned before that we […]

By Published On: 12 January 20122.6 min read

Conjunctivitis comes in many types.

We’ve mentioned before that we were going to have a closer examination of other types of conjunctivitis. This one is important for contact lens wearers, and those who have stitches (sutures) in their eye, or artificial eyes (prosthetics) and implants.

It’s called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC).  Primarily, the major population affected by GPC is contact lens wearers. Additionally, although it can happen to any contact lens wearer, the greatest affected group is?

Those who wear soft lenses, especially the silicon hydrogel variety.  Hard contact lens wearers rarely exhibit GPC.  In fact one of the treatments for GPC is to swap from soft contact lenses to the hard variety.

Essentially, GPC is a type of inflammation of the under-surface of the eyelid, which comes from constant blinking against the contact lens or foreign object. That surface, normally as smooth as silk, becomes irritated and rough, and forms papillae (bumps) all along the surface. The more you blink, the more it rubs, and the more it rubs, the more the whole eye gets irritated, causing the conjunctiva to get inflamed, hence – conjunctivitis.

Possible Causes

There are several possible causes of GPC –

·       constant rubbing of lenses against the eyelids (as described above)

·       allergic reaction to contact lens solution, drops, and cleansers

·       deposit build up on the lenses from extended wear, or improper cleaning techniques, or from wearing the lenses longer than they should be worn (like wearing 30 day disposable lenses for 60 days or 14 day contact lenses for 30 days.)

These causes will create an atmosphere of aggravation for the eyelid, causing papillae to form.


GPC is not contagious – but it looks and feels awful. Symptoms of GPC are similar to other conjunctivitis symptoms –

·       an itchy, gritty feeling in the affected eye

·       burning sensation in the affected eye

·       increased mucous output

·       redness

·       blurred vision from mucous sticking to the lens

– but with an exception…the bumps underneath the eyelid.


The Eye Practice has a variety of treatments available, and we have a great deal of experience with different types of contact lenses, so that you might not have to give up wearing contact lenses at all. In fact, our specialty is contact lenses, so when you come in for treatment for GPC, we encourage you to follow our advice to the letter – we may be able to help you stay in your lenses or find ones that won’t aggravate your GPC.

GPC can be very stubborn to settle down, so there are a variety of treatment approaches we use in order to get your vision and comfort back to optimal operation. Treatment options begin with stopping wearing your current lenses so that the inflammation can subside.It does not stop there though.  Judicious use of prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops will really make the difference in bring the GPC to its knees.

Once the irritation heals, we can work with you to find the right lens system that will keep GPC at bay, and help you to build back up to enjoying the many advantages of contact lenses.

Call for an appointment on 9290 1899 for help.


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