What is Papillary Conjunctivitis?
Giant papillary conjunctivitis (or often just papillary conjunctivitis or GPC) is a highly common complication of wearing contact lenses. The symptoms of GPC consist of red, itchy or irritated eyes. GPC is typically caused by irritation of the
conjunctiva, the membrane covering the white of the eye, by the contact lens itself. One of the most common causes of GPC is “overwearing” contact lenses – i.e. wearing them longer than the recommended duration – which can lead to protein buildup on the lenses which irritates the eyes.
The symptoms of papillary conjunctivitis can be highly uncomfortable and treatment is generally required to alleviate the symptoms.
How can I prevent GPC?
The best way to prevent giant papillary conjunctivitis is to make sure you avoid overwearing your contacts. Dispose of them as recommended – i.e. if you wear daily disposable lens, throw them out after wearing them for one day. In addition, make sure you do not wear lenses longer than 12 hours at a time. By not overwearing your lenses, you minimize the risk that protein will build up on the lens, which can cause GPC.
In addition, and related to not overwearing your contacts, you may want to try daily disposable lenses if you are not already wearing them. Because dailies are disposed of after one day of wear, there is simply less of an opportunity for protein to build up on them compared to lenses that are designed to be disposed of less frequently.
Finally, make sure you rinse your contacts before you put them in! Many people simply remove the contacts from the package and put them in their eyes without rinsing them. However, rinsing is absolutely necessary in order to prevent irritation. It also makes it easier on your eyes when you actually put the contacts in. Make sure to use a solution designed for sensitive eyes and be liberal with application of the solution when rinsing.