Giant papillary conjunctivitis

Last author update: 1 October 2013
Last staff update: 24 December 2020

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PubMed Search: Giant papillary conjunctivitis [title]

Deepali Jain, M.D.
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Cite this page: Jain D. Giant papillary conjunctivitis. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeconjgiantpapillary.html. Accessed September 21st, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Noninfectious inflammatory disorder due to mechanical and immunologic processes (type I and type IV hypersensitivity)
  • Also known as "contact lens induced papillary conjunctivitis"
  • Young adults with history of atopy
  • 1 - 5% of soft contact lens wearers
  • Average onset after 10 - 20 months of contact lens use
Clinical features
  • Itching, burning, foreign body sensation, redness
  • Mucus accumulating in inner canthus noticed in morning
  • Blurred vision, contact lens coating
  • Usually bilateral (10% unilateral)
  • Upper tarsal conjunctiva has inflammation and papules (usually > 0.3 mm)
Clinical images

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Giant papillary conjunctivitis

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Thickened and irregular epithelium
  • Epithelial cells show polymorphism with greater number of conjunctival goblet cells
  • Upper tarsal conjunctival biopsies show mast cells, eosinophils and basophils in epithelium and substantia propria
Cytology description
Differential diagnosis
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