What Is Trachoma?

Trachoma, an eye infection impacting both eyes, is the world’s leading reason for avoidable blindness. Inning accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO), trachoma is accountable for the visual problems of 2.2 million people, of whom 1.2 million are irreversibly blind. Trachoma is caused by a germs called Chlamydia trachomatis.

In its early stages, trachoma causes conjunctivitis (pink eye). Early symptoms, which begin to appear within five to 12 days of exposure to the bacterium, can include moderate itching and irritation of the eyes and eyelids and a discharge from the eyes. As the infection advances, it causes eye pain and blurred vision. If the infection is unattended, scarring takes place inside the eyelid. This leads to the eyelashes turning inward toward the eye, a condition called trichiasis. The eyelashes brush and scratch versus the cornea, the clear covering at the front of the eye. This consistent inflammation turns the cornea cloudy and can result in the development of corneal ulcers and vision loss.

Having one episode of trachoma seldom causes issues. It is thought that experiencing repeated infections is what results in the scarring and blinding complications. Usually, it takes years prior to trachoma can cause vision loss.

Who Is at Risk for Trachoma?

Trachoma is rare in the United States and Europe. It is typically found in establishing nations where hardship, crowded living conditions and bad sanitation aid spread the disease. It is really contagious and is spread out by direct contact with someone infected with the bacteria or with polluted objects, such as towels.

The World Health Organization estimates that 41 million people worldwide, mostly women and children, have active trachoma infection.

Trachoma Symptoms

Trachoma symptoms include itching and irritation of the eyes and eyelids, discharge from the eyes, and eye pain and blurred vision.

As the infection progresses, the eyelashes turn inward, scratching the cornea. If this condition, called trichiasis, is not dealt with, the cornea becomes cloudy, and ultimately can result in corneal ulcers.

Trachoma Symptoms
Picture of trachoma in human.

Trachoma Diagnosis

Your eye doctor can diagnosis most cases of conjunctivitis through an eye test. If you have just recently checked out a nation where trachoma prevails, your eye doctor might collect a sample (culture) for analysis. To do this, he or she will numb your eye and swab the surface area to collect a sample. The lab test will precisely determine whether trachoma is the source of the eye infection.

In more severe cases of trachoma, an eye examination will expose scarring on the inside of the upper eye cover, new blood vessel development in the cornea and inward-turned eye eyelashes.

Trachoma Treatment

Antibiotics are effective in dealing with early cases of trachoma. Early treatment can prevent long-lasting complications.

A global effort called GET (Global Elimination of Blinding Trachoma) 2020 was started in 1997, and a year later on The SAFE (Surgery, Antibiotic treatment, Facial cleanliness, Environmental improvement) Strategy to remove trachoma was carried out worldwide with promising results reported in 2012 from 28 countries.

Advanced cases of trachoma may require surgery to rearrange eyelashes that are growing inward towards the eye. This surgery can assist restrict additional scarring of the cornea and may help improve vision. Corneal transplants are another surgical alternative if the cornea has become so that vision is seriously impaired.

Good health, such as hand washing and face cleaning, has actually been shown to reduce the spread of trachoma.

Reyus Mammadli (Eyexan Team Leader) / author of the article
Bachelor in biomedical and electrical apparatus and systems. For more than 20 years he has been studying methods to improve health using affordable and safe methods. Collaborates with eye care charity organization of the CCP. Specialization is a vision correction by laser surgery, including LASIK.
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Ophthalmology: Health of Your Eyes
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