Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Approximately 1-3% of contact lens wearers develop GCP, consisting of conjunctival infection, mucous discharge, itching, tear film debris, coated lenses, blurred vision, excess lens movement, and blurred vision. These symptoms may remain minimal or progress to complete lens intolerance. The linings of the upper eyelids are most affected.

GPC begins with the formation of deposits on the surface of the lens. The constant trauma of the blinking lid rubbing on the surface of the lens exposes the deposits to the conjunctival lymphatic system. The antigens associated with the deposits incite an immune response in the conjunctiva. This condition is most commonly associated with failure to replace soft contact lenses as scheduled.

The symptoms increase with increased numbers of deposits, increased size of the contact lens, and increased wearing time, especially overnight wear. Treatment of GPC consists of using medications, for a short duration, that suppress the immune response. It is important to reduce the amount of contact between the deposits and the conjunctiva. Frequent cleaning, frequent replacement, reducing wearing time, and using lenses that resist deposit formation are effective treatments.