Can You Develop an Allergy to Contact Lenses?
While it sounds like quite a mouthful, giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is a common eye condition. It’s actually an allergy to contact lenses. It generally occurs in patients who have worn contact lenses for years. They come in concerned that their contacts are no longer comfortable and that they have a slight discharge from their eyes. “But I’ve worn contacts for years without problems” is their response when told of the diagnosis. It’s precisely that long duration of wear that triggers the condition.
Patients with asthma, hay fever or animal allergies may be at greater risk of developing GPC. This condition is believed to be a reaction to protein deposits building up on the contact lenses. The name comes from what we see when we flip the upper eyelid: 1-2 mm bumps called “giant papillae”.
The key to treatment is decreased lens wear time, frequent replacement of the contacts and diligent cleaning of the lenses each day. Disposable contacts help because they are discarded before the protein builds up. Sleeping in contacts has to stop. Besides the above, treatments may include allergy drops or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drops. Once the GPC clears up, the patient may want to consider LASIK vision correction to avoid a recurrence. Call for a free screening exam to see if this is an option for you. Remember that our Dr. Martha Jay is one of the most experienced blade-free LASIK surgeons in the Milwaukee area.
Are you having problems with your contacts or need a thorough eye examination? Give us a call.
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