Trachoma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Trachoma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Trachoma affects the eyes and needs to be treated. It is good to seek a doctor’s advice for trachoma treatment. Eyes need to be taken care of and naturally, any health issue related to them should not be neglected.

Trachoma (truh-KOH-muh) happens to be a bacterial infection that does affect one’s eyes. It is rather due to the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Trachoma is of course contagious, spreading via contact with the eyes, eyelids, as well as nose or throat secretions of infected people. It can also be rather passed on by handling infected items, like handkerchiefs.

To start with, trachoma may rather cause mild itching as well as irritation of one’s eyes along with eyelids. Then the person may notice swollen eyelids as well as pus draining from the eyes. Untreated trachoma can lead to blindness.

Trachoma is indeed the leading preventable cause of blindness worldwide. Most trachoma cases tend to occur in poor areas of Africa, where 85% of people having active disease reside. In areas where trachoma is prevalent, infection rates among children under 5 can fact be 60% or even more.

Early treatment can help prevent trachoma complications.


Both eyes get affected.

  • Mild itching cum irritation of the eyes as well as eyelids
  • Eye discharge containing mucus or even pus
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Vision loss

Young children are rather prone to infection. The disease progresses slowly, and the more painful symptoms may not emerge until adulthood.

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you or your child has itchy or irritated eyes or discharge from the eyes, especially if you live in or recently traveled to an area where trachoma is common. Trachoma is a contagious condition. Treating it as soon as possible helps prevent serious infection.

Trachoma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Trachoma is due to certain subtypes of Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium that can also lead to sexually transmitted infection chlamydia.

Trachoma does spread via contact with discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected person. Hands, clothing, towels, as well as insects, can all be routes for transmission. In developing countries, eye-seeking flies happen to be a means of transmission.

Risk factors

Factors that do increase the risk of contracting trachoma include:

  • Crowded living conditions – People who are living in close contact are at greater risk of spreading infection.
  • Poor sanitation Poor sanitary conditions, inadequate access to water, and also lack hygiene, such as unclean faces or hands, do help spread the disease.
  • Age  In areas where the disease is active, it is rather most common in children ages 4 to 6.
  • Sex In a few areas, women’s rate of contracting the disease is two to six times higher than that of men. This may also be attributed to the fact that women have more contact with children, who are the primary reservoir of some sort of infection.
  • Flies  People who are living in areas with problems controlling the fly population may be more susceptible to infection.

Trachoma treatment

No trachoma vaccine is rather available, but prevention is possible. The WHO has indeed developed a strategy to prevent trachoma, intending to eliminate it by 2020. While the goal has not been entirely achieved, trachoma cases have declined sharply. The strategy, titled SAFE, involves:

  • Surgery meant to treat advanced forms of trachoma
  • Antibiotics useful to treat as well as prevent the infection
  • Facial cleanliness
  • Environmental improvements, particularly in water, sanitation, and also fly control

Trachoma cannot be taken lightly. It is advisable to consult a doctor for proper trachoma treatment.

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