Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

What is Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis?

Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a disorder that causes inflammation in the inside part of your eyelid. This condition mostly affects people who wear contact lenses. Those patients using rigid gas-permeable and soft contact lenses are also affected, although it is more prevalent in soft contact lenses wearers. 1

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis Picture 1

This condition can happen at any time after several years of wearing them. Usually giant papillary conjunctivitis does not cause problem instantly.

It is rare for people who use artificial eyes or have stitches in their eyes to be affected by this condition.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis Picture 3


Giant papillary conjunctivitis is caused by one or more of the following factors:


Allergic reaction is thought to be one of the causes of this condition. Some people are allergic to the contact lenses or chemicals used to clean them. This may cause an allergic reaction between your eyelid skin and the contact lenses or chemicals hence causing giant papillary conjunctivitis.

Rubbing of eyes

You can get this condition through injury that affects your eyelids. For instance, those people who constantly rub contact lenses against the eyelid are more likely to develop giant papillary conjunctivitis.


Any form of deposit on your lenses can also increase your chances of getting this condition. Deposits such as those from metals can find their way into your eyelid and cause irritation.

Risk Factors

Some factors can trigger this condition in people. These factors and conditions include:

Hay fever

Hay fever is also known as allergic rhinitis. It is a condition that causes irritation in your eyes, mouth or skin. It is as a result of an abnormal immune system that overreacts to substances in the environment.

Hay fever occurs in two forms: Seasonal or Perennial. Seasonal hay fever occurs during summer, spring and early fall.

People who are allergic to pollens from trees, weeds and grass can develop seasonal hay fever. Perennial hay fever occurs when you are allergic to dust from mites, molds and cockroaches. People with perennial hay fever have symptoms throughout the year.


This is a collection of medical diseases that cause inflammation or irritation of your skin. There are many of these diseases but atopic eczema is the most common among them. Atopic eczema is a hereditary disease and can also cause other allergic diseases such as asthma.

Eczema affects both children and adults but it occurs mostly in infants. This condition is characterized by itching and can affect any part of your body.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown but an overactive immune system is believed to promote it. This immune system is very sensitive to substances from the environment.

Moreover, studies have shown that eczema is a congenital disorder. It runs from families and people who come from families with eczema are more likely to get it.

Suture stubs

Suture stubs that are used during eye operation can also trigger this condition. Suture stubs can protrude in your eyes and rub against your eyelid and cause irritation or inflammation.

Eye implant

Use of an artificial eye or other devices to correct eye problem can trigger giant papillary conjunctivitis. The artificial eye can initiate reaction in your eye and cause it to become inflamed or irritated.

Family allergic history

An individual from a family with allergic history are more vulnerable to this condition.


Giant papillary conjunctivitis symptoms manifest over time. The following are some of the common symptoms of this condition:

  • It causes your eyes to become red and itchy. People with this condition can feel as if their eyes are burning. Pain in the eyes is common and eyelids can become inflamed.
  • Watery mucus can come out of the affected eye and this can also affect your vision.


Giant papillary conjunctivitis can be diagnosed through the following:

Your ophthalmologist conducts a physical examination of your eyes as well considering your medical history.

Slit lamp test

In this test, your ophthalmologist uses a slit lamp with a camera to examine your eyes. The camera is used to take pictures of different parts of your eye for study. This test is done to look for problems in the front part of your eyes.

Assessing conjunctival scrapings

Your ophthalmologist can take a sample of scrapings from conjunctiva tissue of your eyes. These scrapings are analyzed in the laboratory to rule out any infection in the eye.

Assessing conjunctival scrapings

Many types of conjunctivitis can have similar symptoms as giant papillary conjunctivitis. Your ophthalmologist should perform other tests to rule out other types of conjunctivitis and confirm diagnosis of this condition.


Managing giant papillary conjunctivitis involves curing the symptoms, controlling allergic triggers and improving your immune system response. The following treatments can be used:

  • In case the cause of giant papillary conjunctivitis is a foreign substance such as suture, your ophthalmologist will remove it to relieve symptoms.
  • Change contact lens regularly and limit the time of wearing them to few hours a day. You can use an alternative contact lens that is easily disposed to treat symptoms of this condition. In more severe cases, stop using contact lenses.
  • Mast cell stabilizers- Your ophthalmologist can recommend topical mast cell stabilizers to manage giant papillary conjunctivitis. Mast cell stabilizers help in preventing mast cells from producing histamine, which causes giant papillary conjunctivitis. This medication relieves symptoms of this condition after some time but not instantly. Use mast cell stabilizers before inserting or after removing contact lens.
  • Steroids- You can also use steroids eye drops to reduce redness and inflammation in your eye.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis Picture 2


You can prevent giant papillary conjunctivitis by observing the following tips:

  • Avoid overusing the contact lens
  • Clean your contact lens regularly
  • Wash your hands before inserting and removing the lens to prevent eye infection
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Change your lens if they cause an allergic reaction.


Giant papillary conjunctivitis can cause complication if not treated. The following are these complications:

  • It can damage your eye and Corneal and cause scarring.
  • It also leads to stress and long periods of uneasiness.
  • Infections from bacteria and herpes are common

Reference List

  1. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. Available at
  2. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. Available at
  3. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. Available at
  4. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. Available at
  5. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis. Available at
  6. Eczema. Available at

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