Conjunctivitis Treatment in Santa Barbara, CA

The outer lining of your eyeball is called the conjunctiva. When this part of your eye becomes inflamed, it is known as conjunctivitis or pink eye. A healthy conjunctiva is white.  When the conjunctiva is inflamed, your eyes can look pink or red.

Conjunctivitis can be due to allergies or can be contagious. The redness may appear in one or both eyes. If your child is showing symptoms of pink eye, it’s important that they see a pediatrician for treatment. Dr. Charish Barry is a board-certified pediatrician with extensive experience diagnosing and treating children for conjunctivitis. Call (805) 845-1221 to request an appointment at our pediatric office in Santa Barbara, CA today!

What are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)?

If you notice your eyes are red or if they start to feel scratchy, you may have conjunctivitis. You may wake up one morning with a crusty sensation around your eyelash.  Symptoms of pink eye can be the result of an infection, and you may feel sick or have other virus-like symptoms.

Some common symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • Discharge that can be watery, or thick and green
  • Burning eyes
  • Itching sensation
  • Irritation of eyes
  • Crusty eyelashes

If you have a young baby with discharge, it may be the result of a blocked tear duct and not conjunctivitis. Your doctor will help you know how to best diagnose and treat your infant.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

If you have conjunctivitis, you may wonder what the underlying cause is. It is helpful to know conjunctivitis is caused by viruses, bacteria, or irritation. The eye may look similar to you no matter what is causing the conjunctivitis. The root cause will help determine which time of treatment you need.

Viral Conjunctivitis

  • The most common cause overall
  • Is more common in the adult population
  • Is more prevalent in summer
  • Very contagious
  • Often begins in one eye and then infects the other eye within a few days
  • Has to run its course

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

  • Responsible for the majority of cases in children
  • Observed more frequently from December through April
  • Can be spread easily, especially with certain bacteria and in certain settings
  • Children with conjunctivitis without fever or behavioral changes can usually continue going to school
  • Can be treated with antibiotics

Other Causes of Conjunctivitis

  • Allergies
  • Foreign bodies
  • Contact lens reaction
  • Chemical irritation
  • Inflammation inside the eye
  • Not contagious
  • May require eye drops

What is the Treatment for Conjunctivitis?

There are times when you need medical care and others when you can monitor symptoms on your own.

In most cases, conjunctivitis is usually viral. This means antibiotics won’t help and you may need to let the virus run its course. This can take up to two or three weeks. However, some doctors will prescribe antibiotic eye drops if the suspected infection is bacterial. If the conjunctivitis is due to an allergy, your doctor may prescribe eye drops to help control allergic reactions or inflammation.

In all cases, most providers will recommend the following treatment to help manage symptoms:

  • Cold or warm compress
  • Artificial tears
  • Cleaning eyelids with a clean, wet cloth
  • Avoid contact use or other irritants
  • Avoid or replace eye makeup

The majority of conjunctivitis patients are initially treated by primary care physicians. However, if your conjunctivitis is severe or if the outer lining of your eye is continually getting inflamed, you may need more advanced care.

When should I see Dr. Barry about Conjunctivitis?

You can often start with a pediatrician or family doctor f you have any eye-related signs or symptoms that worry you. However, if your signs and symptoms persist or get worse despite treatment, your doctor may refer you to an eye doctor. An eye specialist is a great resource if you are worried about conjunctivitis and need peace of mind or another opinion.

You should see an eye specialist  if you have conjunctivitis along with any of the following:

  • pain in the eye(s)
  • sensitivity to light
  • blurred vision
  • vision issues that do not improve when discharge is wiped away
  • intense redness
  • symptoms getting worse instead of improving
  • a weakened immune system such as cancer treatment, HIV infection or other medical conditions
  • newborns or very young children

Schedule an Appointment for Pink Eye Treatment

Petite Pediatrics is specially trained to care for the eye and any infections that may worry you. Please give us a call at (805) 845-1221 today!

Call Us (805) 845-1221