Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

During the spring of 2009, I had a terrible case of giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). This is an allergic condition that causes small bumps to form on the inside of one’s eyelids. It was extremely painful.

My eyes felt tight, dry, and itchy. There was a constant sensation of having a foreign object in my eyes. They literally felt like they were on fire. My opthamalogist at the time informed me that he’d never seen such a severe case of GPC.

He theorized that my concurrent use of immunosuppressant medication had made me much more vulnerable to developing a treatment-resistant condition. I was prescribed extraordinarily expensive eye drops to provide relief.

At that time, I had excellent health insurance through my employer. Nevertheless, I spent more than $2,000 per month on co-payments for prescription eyedrops! I had experienced repeated episodes of GPC in the past, but never this severe. My first case of GPC developed soon after I started to wear contact lenses, in 1983.

At the time, thermal disinfection systems were used to clean contact lenses. What was later discovered is that this method only “baked” protein deposits onto your contacts, provoking inflammatory responses. Naturally, I was unable to continue wearing contacts until this condition healed.

My seasonal eye allergies were especially bad in 2009, too. I felt utterly miserable. Having a job that required extensive paperwork didn’t help my situation. It took several months before my eyes began to heal.

My most recent episode of GPC occurred in 2015. I had been taking very high doses of prednisone, a potent corticosteroid, during that time. Prednisone had suppressed my immune system. If you have healthy eyes, count your blessings.

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