Trachoma : Causes - Symptoms- Diagnosis -Treatment

What Is Trachoma?

Trachoma is a bacterial infection that can affect your eyes. It's caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Trachoma is contagious and can be spread through contact with the eyes, eyelids, and nose or throat secretions of infected people. You can also catch it by handling infected materials. Don't use items such as handkerchiefs.

What Is Trachoma?

At first, trachoma may cause mild itching and irritation of your eyes and eyelids. Later, you may notice swollen eyelids and pus draining from your eyes. untreated trachoma can lead to blindness.

Trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. Most cases occur in areas of Africa where 85% of people with active disease live. In areas where trachoma is prevalent, rates of infection among children under 5 can be 60% or more.

If trachoma is treated early, it may prevent complications.

  1. Eye

  2. Cornea

  3. Iris

  4. Ciliary body

  5. Lens

  6. Retina

Medical terms

Trachoma is the world’s leading reason for preventable sightlessness of infectious origin. Caused by the bacteria chlamydia, eye disease can definitely unfold through direct personal contact, shared towels and cloths, ANd flies that have available contact with the eyes or nose of an infected person. If left untreated, recurrent eye disease infections will cause severe scarring of the within of the protective fold and may cause the eyelashes to scratch the tissue layer (trichiasis). In addition to inflicting pain, trichiasis for good damages the tissue layer and may cause irreversible sightlessness. Trachoma, that spreads in areas that lack adequate access to water and sanitation, affects the foremost marginalized communities within the world a pair of. Globally, nearly eight million folks area unit visually impaired by trachoma; five hundred million area unit in danger of sightlessness from the sickness throughout fifty seven endemic countries

The World Health Organization has targeted eye disease for elimination by 2020 through AN innovative, multi-faceted public health strategy referred to as S.A.F.E.

  • Surgery to correct the advanced, blinding stage of the disease (trichiasis),

  • Antibiotics to treat active infection,

  • Facial cleanliness and,

  • Environmental improvements in the areas of water and sanitation to reduce disease transmission

The comprehensive SAFE strategy combines measures for the treatment of active infection and trichiasis (S&A) with preventive measures to cut back illness transmission (F&E) five,6. Implementation of the complete SAFE strategy in endemic areas will increase the effectiveness of eye disease programs. The F and E parts of SAFE seven, that cut back illness transmission, square measure notably crucial to achieving property elimination of eye disease.

  • The “F” within the SAFE strategy refers to facial cleanliness. As a result of eye disease being transmitted through shut personal contact, it tends to occur in clusters, typically infecting entire families and communities. Children, UN agency square measure a lot of possible to the touch their eyes and have unclean faces that attract eye-seeking flies, square measure particularly susceptible to infection, as square measure girls eight, the standard caretakers of the house. Therefore, the promotion of excellent hygiene practices, like hand laundry and therefore the washing of children’s faces a minimum of once on a daily basis with water, could be a key step in breaking the cycle of eye disease transmission nine.

  • The “E” within the SAFE strategy refers to environmental amendment. enhancements in community and social unit sanitation, like the supply of social unit latrines, facilitate management fly populations and breeding grounds. inflated access to water facilitates sensible hygiene practices and is important to achieving property elimination of the illness ten. Separation of animal quarters from human elbow room, moreover as safe handling of food and beverage, are necessary environmental measures that affected communities will take under an eye disease management program.

  • Causes Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness affecting 2.2 million people worldwide Trachoma spreads through direct contact with eye secretions from infected individuals and by flies that breed on human faces The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that trachoma can be eliminated as a public health problem in 10 years at a cost of $1.8 billion over 20 years – which they are currently raising to fund four regional elimination programs Globally more than 617 million people need treatment for infectious trachoma in 2017 alone most of them children under 15 years old who attend school

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 150 million people are at risk of trachoma. Trachoma is the world's leading cause of infectious blindness accounting for an estimated 1.2 million cases in 2009. Approximately 90% of all visually impaired people living in developing countries have this disease and it accounts for an estimated 25% of blindness worldwide

Symptoms Trachoma 

The signs and symptoms of trachoma usually affect both eyes, and may include: -Tearing -Redness -Swelling -Itching -Crusting around the eyelashes

  • People may experience mild itching and irritation of the eyes and eyelids.

  • Eye discharge containing mucus or pus

  • Eyelid swelling

  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)

  • Eye pain

  • Eye redness

  • Vision loss

Small children are more likely to get sick. But the disease can progress slowly and some of the more painful symptoms may not appear until adulthood.

The World Health Organization has identified five stages of trachoma development: 1. Early Stage: The person has no symptoms and can't tell if they have the disease. 2. Moderate Stage: The person has mild symptoms, such as a discharge from the eyes. 3. Late Stage: The person has severe symptoms, such as blindness. 4. Extensive Stage: The person has widespread eye infection and can't see at all. 5. Recovered Stage

  • Inflammation — follicular.The early infection has five or more small bumps that look like lymphocytes - a type of white blood cell - on the inside surface of your upper eyelid (conjunctiva).

  • Inflammation — intense.Your eye is now highly infectious and causes an increase in the size of your upper eyelid.

  • Eyelid scarring.Repeated infections will cause scarring on the inner eyelid. The scars will often look like white lines when examined with a magnifying glass. Your eyelid may become distorted and turn inward (entropion).

  • In-turned eyelashes (trichiasis).The scar on your inner eyelid continues to deform, causing your lashes to turn in so that they rub against and scratch the outside of your eye (the cornea).

  • Corneal clouding (opacity).If your upper lid is constantly inflamed, this will lead to clouding of the cornea. This happens because you are scratching the area underneath your lashes, which makes it inflamed.

The signs of trachoma are more severe on your upper lid than on your lower lid. If left untreated, a disease process that begins in childhood can continue to grow worse over time.

When to see a doctor

If you or your child has itchy or irritated eyes, or if you live in or recently traveled to an area where trachoma is common, call your doctor. Trachoma is a contagious condition that can be treated as soon as possible to help prevent serious infection.

Causes Trachoma 

Trachoma is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, which can also cause the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia.

Trachoma is spread through contact with the discharge from someone's eyes or nose, as well as through the contact of hands, clothing, and insects. In developing countries, eye-seeking flies can also transmit the disease.

Risk factors Trachoma 

There are things that increase your risk of contracting trachoma, including: -Having a close contact with someone who has the disease -Being in an area where the disease is common -Having a dry eye

  • Crowded living conditions.People who are close to each other are at a greater risk of spreading infection.

  • Poor sanitation.Poor sanitary conditions, such as inadequate access to water or lack of hygiene, help spread the disease.

  • Age.The disease is most common among children aged 4 to 6.

  • Sex.Women are more likely to contract the disease than men. This may be because women have more contact with children who are the primary reservoir of infection.

  • Flies.People who live in areas with a lot of flies may be more likely to get sick from them.

Complications Trachoma

Treating one episode of trachoma with antibiotics is easy. If the infection is detected and treated early, it will not lead to other complications. However, if the infection is repeated or secondary, it can cause complications, such as eye damage.

  • Scarring of the inner eyelid

  • Eyelid deformities can cause scratches to the eye's surface. These include an inward-folding eyelid (entropion) and ingrown eyelashes (trichiasis).

  • Corneal scarring or cloudiness

  • Partial or complete vision loss

Prevention Trachoma

If you've been treated for trachoma with antibiotics or surgery, reinfection is always a concern. For your protection and the safety of others, be sure that family members or others you live with are screened and, if necessary, treated for trachoma.

Trachoma can occur in many parts of the world, but it is more common in some parts of the world, such as Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. When traveling to areas where trachoma is common, take extra care with your hygiene habits to prevent infection.

Good hygiene practices include:

  • Face washing and hand-washing.Keeping your face and hands clean may help break the cycle of infection.

  • Fly control.Eliminating fly populations can help reduce the spread of infection.

  • Proper waste management.Washing and disposing of animal and human waste properly can reduce the number of fly breeding grounds.

  • Improved access to water.Having a nearby water source can improve hygiene conditions.

There is no trachoma vaccine available, but prevention is possible. The World Health Organization has developed a strategy to eliminate trachoma by 2020. While the goal hasn't been entirely achieved, cases of trachoma have declined sharply.The SAFE strategy is a plan that helps keep you safe during a conflict. -Sanitation: keeping the environment clean and free from bacteria that can cause trachoma -Awareness: raising awareness about the disease and how to prevent it -Frequent checkups for

  • SIf trachoma is advanced, surgery may be necessary to treat it.

  • AAntibiotics are used to treat and prevent infection.

  • Facial cleanliness

  • EImproving the environment includes improving water sanitation and control of flies.

Can trachoma blindness be cured?

Trachoma blindness caused by the burrowing of larvae into the upper eyelid (trichiasis) can be cured but it is still a public health problem in many parts of the world including Sub-Saharan Africa South Asia and some countries in Latin America The treatment for trachoma involves surgical removal of scar tissue from around the eye to prevent further infection and correct vision loss or blindness.

How can trachoma be prevented?

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 200 million people worldwide are at risk of trachoma, a leading cause of infectious blindness. The disease can be prevented through simple interventions that include providing clean water, basic sanitation and health education to children.

Is there a vaccine for trachoma?

Trachoma is a serious disease of the eye that is easily prevented with antibiotics The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that trachoma can be eliminated as a public health problem worldwide by 2020. As of January 2014 more than 26 million people worldwide had been treated under the SAFE strategy to prevent and control trachoma – Surgery for trichiasis (cured) with antibiotics for eyelids (antibiotic azithromycin) A total of 3 countries have completed this effort: Morocco in 2003 in southwestern Sudan in 2009 and Somalia in 2010. In late 2013 Burkina Faso became the fourth country to.

How did I get chlamydia in my eye?

When you experience a painless red eye with blurred vision and sensitivity to light it is safe to assume that there is something wrong with your vision Although chlamydia does not affect your sight or cause blindness it can damage the inner lining of your eyelids resulting in inflammation and discharge Chlamydia also causes irritation within the cornea if left untreated.

How long does eye chlamydia last?

Specifically chlamydia of the eye may last between seven and 14 days However it can infect the eyes again if the person reinfects himself or herself after treatment The chance of reinfection is greater in those who have had chlamydia previously as well as those with multiple partners To prevent reinfection they should be careful not to spread their chlamydia by using condoms consistently with all sex partners.

Diagnosis Trachoma 

Your doctor can diagnose trachoma by looking at you or taking a sample of bacteria from your eyes. But sometimes tests that would confirm the diagnosis aren't available where trachoma is common.

Treatment Trachoma 

There are different trachoma treatment options depending on the stage of the disease.


In the early stages of trachoma treatment, antibiotics may be enough to eliminate the infection. Your doctor may prescribe tetracycline eye ointment or oral azithromycin (Zithromax). Azithromycin appears to be more effective than tetracycline but it's more expensive.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends giving antibiotics to everyone in a community when more than 10% of children have contracted trachoma. The goal of this guideline is to treat anyone who has been exposed to trachoma and reduce the spread of the disease.

  1. Rehabilitation of Vision


Trachoma can be treated in later stages with surgery. This may include painful eyelid deformities.

In eyelid rotation surgery (bilamellar tarsal rotation), your doctor makes an incision in your scar and rotates your lashes away from your eye. The procedure limits the progression of corneal scarring and may help prevent further loss of vision.

If your cornea has become so cloudy that it seriously impairs your vision, corneal transplantation may be an option that could improve your vision.

Sometimes you may need to remove your eyelashes (epilation). This may need to be done more than once.

  1. Corneal transplant

Preparing for your appointment

If you or your child has symptoms of trachoma, you will likely see your primary care doctor first. If you are referred immediately to an eye specialist, you may not need to do anything in the meantime (such as keeping your child home from school). School or daycare.

Here is some information that will help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • The person seeking treatment will have symptoms, including any changes in vision.

  • It is important to include personal information such as recent travel, use of new makeup products, and changes to contact lenses or glasses in your emergency contact information.

  • The person seeking treatment will need to tell the doctor all of the medications and supplements they are taking.

  • Questions to ask the doctor

Some basic questions to ask your doctor if you are experiencing eye irritation include:

  • What are the most likely causes of these symptoms?

  • What are some other possible causes for these symptoms?

  • What kinds of tests are needed?

  • Is the condition short-term or long-term?

  • What is the best course of action?

  • Will this condition have any long-term effects?

  • What restrictions should my child or I follow in order to avoid getting sick?

  • Should I see a doctor? How much will it cost and will my insurance cover it?

  • Can I choose a different medicine to take instead of the one you're prescribing me?

  • Can you print out some brochures or other printed material for me? What websites do you think I should visit?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor might ask you a variety of questions, such as:

  • Have you ever had a similar problem?

  • What were the first symptoms you experienced?

  • How serious are your symptoms? Are they getting worse?

  • What do you think might help improve your symptoms?

  • What if anything seems to make your symptoms worse?

  • Do you have any family members with the same symptoms?

  • Have you been using any medications or drops to treat your symptoms?

In the meantime, here are some things you can do.

To reduce the chances of spreading your condition, follow these hygiene tips while you are waiting for your appointment:

  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes.

  • Hand-washing is important. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently to avoid getting sick.

  • Wash your hands and change your towel daily. Do not share them with others.

  • Change your pillowcase often.

  • Don't use eye cosmetics that contain mascara, since this can be harmful to your eyes.

  • Do not use anyone else's cosmetics or personal care items, such as eye makeup.

  • Don't wear your contact lenses until you have been evaluated by your eye doctor. Do what he tells you about proper contact lens care.

  • If your child is infected, they should avoid close contact with other children.

General summary

  1. Trachoma is a bacterial infection that is easily spread from person to person and can cause blindness There’s no cure for trachoma but the World Health Organization reports that there are several methods of prevention and treatment available Appropriate antibiotics are one method of treatment and control.

  2. A leading cause of preventable blindness trachoma is an infection that can be easily treated with antibiotics But lack of access to healthcare services has led to a rise in cases worldwide However efforts are being made to combat the disease that affects millions of people around the world Learn more about this horrific condition and what you can do to help eradicate it.

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