Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)

GPC is an inflammation of the inner surface of the eyelids, most frequently associated with contact lens wear or over wear. It generally occurs in people who wear soft lens but can develop in gas permeable lens wearers as well. It can occur at any time even if you’ve worn your lens successfully for years, it can be very uncomfortable and generally requires discontinuing your lens for a period of time or permanently.

The typical symptoms of GPC include red, irritated eyes, often with itching and mucous discharge, possibly blurred vison and generally contact lens discomfort. GPC is not an infection, but a hypersensitivity of the membrane covering the inner lids and whites of the eyes/ The inner lining of the eyelid becomes roughened and inflamed by constant blinking over a contact lens which is not clean, has been worn too long or is made of a material you may be sensitive to such as silicone. Hard, flat elevations in a cobblestone pattern develop on the undersurface of the upper eyelid. Eventually the entire eye becomes irritated.

In most cases, treatment of GPC involves discontinuing the use of contact lenses to allow the eye to rest. Many people find their symptoms are relieved when contact lens wear is discontinued. Medicated eye drops are frequently prescribed to control the inflammation but unfortunately the symptoms can return when the contact lens wear is resumed.

Your doctor may consider changing to a new brand of contact lens or the use of a daily disposable contact lens system. Often, we recommend a switch to a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning system, ClearCare. After an episode of GPC, limit the amount of time the contact lenses are worn, your eye doctor will give you a new wearing time schedule.

Once it develops, GPC may be an ongoing problem, prolonged GPC is always more difficult to treat. Please adhere to the wearing schedule your doctor has prescribed for your contact lens.