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  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

    Published Apr. 27, 2023

    What Is Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis?

    Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is when the inside of the eyelid gets red, swollen, and irritated because of:

    • injury from contact lenses
    • an artificial eye, or
    • sutures (stitches from surgery)

    Without GPC, the inside of your eyelid is very smooth.

    People who wear contact lenses (especially soft lenses) have the greatest chance of getting GPC. GPC can happen at any time, even after wearing contacts for many years.

    People who do not wear contact lenses can also get GPC. But this is rare, mostly affecting those who have an artificial eye or stitches.
    In giant papillary conjunctivitis, large bumps appear on the underside of the eyelid.

    GPC Causes 

    GPC seems to be caused by the following:

    • A contact lens, artificial eye, or exposed stitches rubbing against the eyelid
    • Deposits of proteins or other substances on the contact lenses
    • An allergy, either to contact lenses or the chemicals used to clean them. Contact lens wearers with asthma, hay fever, or other allergies are more likely to get GPC.

    GPC Symptoms

    At first, the inside of your eyelid gets rough, red, and swollen. Later, you may get bumps—called papillae—that could grow to the size of a pimple.

    Other GPC symptoms include:

    GPC Treatment

    You need to take care of GPC right away. If not, it can cause serious damage to your eyelid and to your cornea. The cornea is the clear, front window of your eye. If the cornea is damaged, you cannot see properly.

    Here are treatment options for GPC:

    • Avoid wearing contact lenses for a few weeks. This gives the inside of your eye time to heal.
    • Limit the amount of time you wear contact lenses each day.
    • Use eye drop medicine or ointment prescribed by your ophthalmologist to reduce itching and swelling.
    • Change the type of contact lenses you wear.
    • Avoid lens solutions with preservatives. Switch to unpreserved salt solutions.
    • Never sleep in your contact lenses.

    Your ophthalmologist will discuss treatment options for you based on your condition.