Category: Illness or disabilities
Introduction and description
Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is one of the symptoms of infection with the bacteria.
Trachoma is an infectious eye disease, and remains the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world. Globally, about 80 million people have an active infection. In some areas infections may be present in as many as 60–90% of children and it more commonly affects women than men likely due to their closer contact with children. The disease is the cause of a poor ability to see in 2.2 million people of which 1.2 million are completely blind. It commonly occurs in 53 countries of Africa, Asia, Central and South America with about 230 million people at risk.
The infection causes a roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids. This roughening can lead to pain in the eyes, breakdown of the outer surface or cornea of the eyes, and to blindness. Untreated, repeated trachoma infections can result in a form of permanent blindness when the eyelids turn inward.
The bacteria that cause the disease can be spread by both direct and indirect contact with an affected person's eyes or nose. Indirect contact includes through clothing or flies that have come into contact with an affected person's eyes or nose. Children spread the disease more often than adults. Poor sanitation, crowded living conditions, and not enough clean water are contributory conditions.
Details of treatment and more information about the disease can be found in the section for Chlamydia - please follow the link - and also in Blindness, Macular Degeneration and other sight impairment, again please follow the link.