Trachoma is the leading cause of INFECTIOUS BLINDNESS in the world. Over 80 million people in the world have this active infection.
WHAT IS TRACHOMA
Trachoma is a contagious bacterial infection that involves the conjunctiva, cornea, and eyelids. The conjunctivitis looks similar to a “pink eye.” Chlamydia trachomatis is the bacteria involved. It is a preventable and curable infection. Repeated infections of trachoma cause scarring of the cornea which leads to permanent vision loss and blindness if left untreated.
Trachoma symptoms can be: Discharge, swollen eyelids, red eyes, eyelashes turning inwards, sensitivity to bright lights, blurred vision. If the symtoms are very mild irritation and little discharge, they sometimes get ignored.
WHO GETS IT
The active disease is found mostly in children (especially pre-school children), and poorer countries where hygiene is compromised. India is a great example of this. In India, locals refer to the lumps under the upper eyelids as “kukray.”
PREVENTION + TREATMENT
Preventative measures and early intervention are key to eliminating blindness from this disease.
Hygiene education on facial cleanliness, fly control, latrine use and sanitation modifications are necessary. Washing hands regularly is very important. Keep livestock away from your living quarters. Dont share towels with individuals with an active infection. Active infections should be treated with Azithromycin anitibiotic immediately to prevent further damage to the eyes. To correct for previous damage, surgery may be required to improve vision.
THE GOAL: ELIMINATE TRACHOMA BY YEAR 2020
S = Surgery for correction
A = Antibiotic Treatment
F = Facial Cleanliness
E = Environmental improvements with water and sanitation