Find Relief from Contact Lens Allergies with LASIK Surgery

Optometrist scanning this patient with glaucoma

Do your contacts cause red or itchy eyes? LASIK surgery can permanently correct your vision so that you no longer need to worry about blurry, uncomfortable lenses.

Most people are familiar with pollen or animal allergies, but did you know you can be allergic to your own contact lenses? An inflammatory reaction called giant papillary conjunctivitis, or GPC may be to blame if contacts make your eyes red, itchy, blurry, painful, or otherwise uncomfortable.

If you have a contact lens allergy, there are other ways to achieve sharp vision without the bothersome symptoms. LASIK surgery it a treatment that can permanently correct your vision, eliminating the need for contacts or glasses.

Are You Allergic to Your Contacts?

Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction that affects the eye’s conjunctiva, or the membrane covering the eye and inner eyelid. The most recognizable symptom is tiny bumps (known as papillae) developing on the inside of the eyelid, which can cause irritation and inflammation.

Other symptoms of GPC — which gets worse over time if not treated — include itching, pain, blurry vision, the feeling of a foreign body in your eye, excessive mucus production, and the eventual inability to wear contacts comfortably at all.

People who wear soft contact lenses are ten times more likely to develop GPC than people who wear hard contacts, which is due to the fact that soft lenses are more likely to attract and retain allergens than the more rigid hard lenses. 1-5% of soft contact lenses wearers in the U.S. suffer from GPC.

How to Reduce Your Symptoms

There are a few tactics that may alleviate the symptoms of GPC. Soft contact lens wearers may want to consider switching to hard lenses or glasses. Maintaining a more rigorous level of hygiene can also help, including cleaning your contacts every time you take them out of the case, replacing the solution every time you put them back in the case, and using a proteolytic enzyme cleaner weekly.

You can also try using a preservative-free or hydrogen peroxide-based solution. Additionally, switching the brand of contacts you wear may help, as well as simply taking a break from wearing your contacts until the symptoms have subsided.

A Long-Term Solution

While contact lenses and glasses work well for some people, others may find them inconvenient, uncomfortable, or too expensive in the long term. That’s why laser eye surgery, or LASIK, can be a better option for people with GPC. This brief and relatively painless procedure uses lasers to reshape the cornea, resulting in improved vision.

LASIK can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or a combination of these conditions. Most people who have LASIK begin experiencing improved vision almost immediately, and typically can resume regular activities as soon as the following day.

If you’re suffering from GPC, or are simply interested in seeing if LASIK is a good fit for you, set up an appointment with an eye doctor today. The staff at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute is experienced in administering LASIK and treating conditions like GPC. After evaluating your individual needs, we’ll help you make the right decision for your eyes.

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