Contact Lenses and Conjunctivitis: A Primer

contact lenses valparaiso | eye health indianaYour eyes produce tears to release emotions and to protect your eyes from irritation. If you’ve ever had conjunctivitis, commonly called “pink eye,” you know how painful the inflammation and infection of the layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of your eyelid and covers the front of your eye can be.

What is Conjunctivitis?

  • Conjunctivitis is a common eye disease, especially in children. It’s caused by a viral or bacterial infection, is highly contagious and is easily spread in schools and at home. While it’s usually a minor eye infection, conjunctivitis can develop into a more serious problem.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

  • There is a type of conjunctivitis that is unique to people who wear hard or rigid contact lenses or soft contact lenses that are not replaced frequently. It’s called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis, an allergic conjunctivitis that can result from the constant presence of a foreign body in your eyes – like your contact lenses. Giant papillary conjunctivitis causes large bumps to form under your eyelids that may extend to your lower lids. The painful feeling is similar to tiny rocks under your lids that scratch your eye with each blink.

What does Conjunctivitis feel like?

  • This condition develops slowly – with eye irritation, burning, redness, blurred vision and increased eye discharge as symptoms. It may also feel like your contacts are moving out of place when you open and close your eyes, and you may experience intense discomfort and burning when you wear your contacts.

How to treat Conjunctivitis

  • Prescription eye drops are commonly used to treat conjunctivitis and reduce the itching and burning. Avoid wearing your lenses and switch to your glasses until all signs of infection and irritation disappear. You may want to try lenses made of a different material or switch from rigid to soft, disposable lenses. There are lenses that are designed for daily use only, which greatly limits the chances of bacteria build-up.

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