How do I get rid of my bumpy, icky eyelids?
October 28, 2006 8:07 PM   Subscribe

GPC (Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis) - have it? Know much about it? Tell me.

I was recently diagnosed with GPC. I'm in the not-so-weird-but-uncomfortable position of having this diagnosis handed to me by an optometrist who I've only seen twice before, so I don't know how much I can trust diagnostic capabilities or willingness to find any fitting solution for me (for the record, though, he seems fantastic, if a bit blase about this disease.. condition... whatever it is). From my online research I seem to have the traditional setup for it - dry eyes, years of contact wearing (soft disposables for 13 + years), gritty feeling, some of the bumps even feel-able through my eyelid if I touch it... etc.

My doctor's summation is: once you have it, you always have it, and we can hope that switching to a different type of lens might help, but if not you'll either need to stop wearing lenses for 6 months or so, or for good. Now - this is NOT ok with me, as I loathe (say it with me: loathe) wearing glasses. His attitude of, "well, you've got it, that's how it is," doesn't sit terribly well with me. He's put me on Patanol, an anti-allergy eyedrop, twice a day to see if that will alleviate the symptoms (he says that, since the condition can mimic an allergic response, some patients find these drops help) - it's been two weeks and it doesn't really help much at all.

So, I'm down to about a month now with this condition in flare-up mode. I'm wondering what the real deal is with GPC - is it really something that never goes away? Is there anything he's not suggesting that I can do? And why, in gods name, after 13 years am I suddenly unable to really wear lenses when I've had no problems at all in the past?

(Oh, one other thing - the first time I saw this guy he switched my lens brand - I'd always worn Acuvue - wondering if the new fit of these lenses (they're a slightly different shape and size) could have contributed to this?)
posted by AthenaPolias to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there's always LASIK.
posted by effugas at 8:44 PM on October 28, 2006

I had this a couple years back and have since switched to glasses, even though my new eye doctor said he didn't see any bumps at my latest checkup. But I've found I have a really low tolerance for contact lenses now, increased light sensitivity, grittiness and such. I can only wear lenses for a few hours now, so I mostly use my glasses.

For what it's worth, both my old eye doc and my new one put me on Cromlyn drops, which are a mild steroid drop, I believe. you might want to ask your doc about it. Neither of my doctors told me it was always a chronic condition, but one said it can sometimes become one. (Which is another reason I'm reluctant to use my contacts anymore.)
posted by np312 at 8:47 PM on October 28, 2006

believe me, I would've had LASIK years ago if I were even in the financial position to conceive of the price, much less pay it...! (oh, the sadness.)
posted by AthenaPolias at 9:15 PM on October 28, 2006

I was in the same spot a few years ago. Too many nights sleeping in my contacts because I couldn't bear to be seen with my glasses. Did the Patanol, did the Cromlyn, switched to hard contacts (avoid this), suffered. GPC left me with chronic dry eye which makes wearing soft contacts difficult. (If you have either (or both) of these conditions know that your candidacy for LASIK will be negatively affected.)

In my case I just got tired of being miserable with hard contacts so I lied to my new optometrist and told him I had no eye problems. He gave me soft contacts but I never wore them. Having become much more secure (and exceedingly lazy), I decided to be extra-cute and extra-confident in a pair of trendy red frames. (I was always into being kinda quirky anyway, so it works for me.)

Of course every situation is different and YMMV. However if you find yourself relying on your specs, take heart. Lots of people find glasses verry attractive on the opposite sex. Just look at Lisa Loeb, Rachael Harris, Clark Kent (my personal favorite)...
posted by mynameismandab at 10:00 PM on October 28, 2006

I had it about seven years ago due to wearing contacts too long and without washing (a hangover from poverty-stricken student days). At that stage I had worn lenses for about ten years with no problems before. Like you, I utterly despise glasses; I dislike the closed-in way the world looks when I have them on, the frames, and the way I look in them.

The good news is that I haven't had a flare-up of GPC since that first time. The bad news is that I had to wear glasses only, no contacts, for about eight months. I also had some eyedrops - don't remember what they were, but they contained some kind of steroids. Then they put me on disposable contacts, which I am reasonably careful about cleaning and replacing regularly, and I haven't had any problems with it since. I do still wear my glasses on days when I'm not going out or expecting company, but that's only about once a fortnight :)
posted by andraste at 3:15 AM on October 29, 2006

Oops, that is without washing the contacts. Not without washing myself. I wasn't that poverty-stricken :)
posted by andraste at 3:16 AM on October 29, 2006

I was diagnosed with it 6 months ago. I was wearing Focus Night & Day contacts (which you wear permanently for a month before changing pairs) and my eye doc told me to stop wearing them overnight and start using allergen-reducing eyedrops. She also changed me to a different lens cleaning system called "Clean & Clear" which seems to be getting my lenses really, really clean. My eyes are better but I do start to get a little itchy flareup starting when it's time to change my pair of lenses.

She also switched me to Accuvue Oasys lenses which I've just started wearing - they seem about the same as the Focus lenses in terms of comfort.

From what I've read on the 'net, you can typically wear your contacts less, keep them cleaner, and keep your eyes flushed out to reduce the symptoms, and those three steps have been working really well for me. I also will NOT wear glasses until I absolutely must, so I sympathise with you.
posted by some chick at 8:35 AM on October 29, 2006

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