Have you been wearing contact lenses for years then all of a sudden your eyes feel swollen and itchy? Many patients are caught off guard when this happens and tend to wonder if it’s possible to become allergic to their contacts. Since wearing a piece of plastic is foreign to the eye, it’s definitely possible to acquire a reaction after so many years.
What many people don’t realize is that after a number of years of wearing contact lenses, your body can reach its threshold for that little piece of plastic. For about 5 to 10 percent of those who wear contact lenses, there comes a time when your contacts may actually become an irritant, causing the body to produce a histamine response.
When the body releases histamine as a reaction to contacts it causes an inflammatory response, causing blood vessel growth in the eyelid. This swelling of the vessels is known as Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC). When experiencing GPC, one may experience the following symptoms:
In some cases changing the kind of contacts you wear may help. However, once you have GPC your eyes will remain sensitive, making it so that you cannot wear contacts for long periods of time.
For many people who develop an irritation to their contacts, refractive surgery such as LASIK is a beneficial option. With surgical vision correction, the need for contacts is removed, limiting the risk of GPC.
If you are experiencing symptoms of GPC and would like to learn more about what vision correction options are available to you, contact Wilmarth Eye and Laser Center at (916) 782-2111 to schedule a consultation. We serve the entire Greater Sacramento area including Folsom, Rocklin and Citrus Heights.