Vision Source associate optometrist, Dr. Madison Wall-Hayes, says she is seeing more cases of giant papillary conjunctivitis, or GPC, which you can see on the inside of the upper eyelid.
"We see these bumps on the eyelids when it should be nice and velvety smooth," said Dr. Wall-Hayes.
Those bumps are indicative of GPC.
"Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a type of chronic inflammation that results from proteins, debris, allergens, being on our ocular surface and causing mechanical trauma to the skin underneath the upper eyelid," said Dr. Wall-Hayes.
As you blink, the irritation intensifies.
It is something Etta Linton can tell you about first-hand.
"I thought it was just allergies," she said. "I had lots of itching, even some burning and light sensitivity."
Linton has worn contacts since fifth grade and for years has worn two week disposable pairs.
She had no idea that could set her up for this irritating condition.
"We see it in children and young adults who do have chronic allergic conjunctivitis and also asthma, seasonal allergies, atopic dermatitis that are allergic conditions," said Dr. Wall-Hayes. "But we see it mostly in contact lens patients."
Dr. Wall-Hayes says you don't have to make the switch to glasses, but a daily disposable lens is a healthier option - and taking contacts out at night definitely helps.
Steroid drops can be prescribed in cases like Linton's to reduce the inflammation and allergy eye drops are a longer-term solution to prevent the eye from reacting to allergens.
"That helped almost immediately, in combination with the drops," said Linton. "Just having new contacts every single day seemed to really improve the discomfort."
Untreated GPC can cause permanent scarring to the cornea.
If you are experiencing discharge from your eye, itching, light sensitivity, or problems with the fit of your contact lens, you need to see your eye doctor.
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