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Trachoma, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications, Prevention

Trachoma is a bacterial infection of the eye. This disease is an infectious disease and is the leading cause of blindness in the world with the most cases being in Africa. Active trachoma is usually more common in children aged 3-5 years. While at the age of adults, adult women have a greater risk due to the frequency of closeness more often than men, such as child caregivers.

Trachoma usually attacks the eyes and eyelids first with initial symptoms of mild irritation and itching. Trachoma is transmitted through contact with a patient by holding objects exposed to bacteria, such as touching a handkerchief that covered a cough. Transmission can also come from throat fluid that comes out. If not treated immediately, Trachoma can cause serious complications to blindness.

Trachoma, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications, Prevention


Causes of Trachoma

Trachoma is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This bacterium can also cause chlamydia s*xually transmitted diseases and is transmitted from someone who has been infected with this bacterium. Trachoma can be contagious when an infected person touches their eyes or nose and touches another person. Trachoma transmission may also occur through the intermediary of objects, insects, or flies that land on the eyes. Flies can carry fluids containing bacteria from the eyes and nose to other people. Items such as towels and clothes can also be a medium of transmission of Trachoma.

The bacteria that causes Trachoma causes inflammation of the inner lining of the eyelids and causes infection. Infections that keep repeating then cause the eyelids to fold inward. Eyelash growth becomes involved in growing so that it hits the eyes. Severe and recurrent infections can cause scarring of the cornea. The eye will then remove mucus or pus containing bacteria that can be carried away or contracted to other people.

Several other factors also play a role in the transmission of Trachoma, namely:


  • Populations that live in poverty and shelter that are too dense or coincide, especially in poor countries.
  • Poor sanitation results in low levels of individual or human health, for example, unclean hands and faces help facilitate the spread of this disease.
  • The number of toilets that are minimal or not in accordance with proper sanitation standards will increase the risk of contracting.
  • Uncontrolled fly populations in an area will make the area prone to various infections, including Trachoma.
  • The spread of Trachoma will be higher if the related area has a high population of children too, especially 4-6 years old.
  • Women have a higher risk of developing Trachoma than men. This can be caused by the number of activities related to caring for or interacting with children.


Symptoms of Trachoma

Besides irritation and mild itching in the eyes and eyelids, Trachoma also has other symptoms, namely:


  • Sore eyes
  • Eye swelling
  • Sensitive to light
  • The discharge is mucus or pus from the eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Followed by complications in the ear, nose, and throat


Symptoms of Trachoma require a long process before eventually developing into a disease. The bacteria that cause Trachoma to have an incubation period of 5-12 days before a person experiences initial symptoms of irritation or inflammation in the outermost layers of the eyes and petals (conjunctivitis).

More painful symptoms generally also appear when the child has grown up. In addition, the symptoms of Trachoma can also affect the lubricating gland tissue in the lids and tear-producing glands (lacrimal gland) which causes the eyes to experience dryness which results in the more severe condition of Trachoma.

There are 5 stages of the development of Trachoma disease according to the description of the World Health Organization (WHO), namely:


  • Inflammation of follicular tissue containing lymphocytes, one type of white blood cell. This follicle can be seen on the inner surface of the upper eyelid.
  • Inflammation (infection) gets worse and causes irritation and thickening or swelling of the upper eyelid.
  • Scarring on the inside of the eyelid that appears will look like a thick white line is seen with a magnifying glass. This stage causes the eyelids to fold inward or is called entropion.
  • Eyelash growth becomes affected until it grows into (trichiasis) and swipes the cornea as the surface of the outer eye.
  • Corneas that are constantly rubbed due to inflammation of the eyelids and eyelashes that grow inward will then cause a decrease in the quality of vision, which becomes vague (corneal clouding).


See a doctor immediately if you experience the above symptoms or just returned from traveling to an area prone to the transmission of Trachoma. In addition to increasing the chances of healing and avoiding blindness, treating Trachoma earlier will also minimize the transmission of this disease to others.

Diagnosis of Trachoma

Some things that need to be considered before making a visit to the doctor related to the symptoms experienced are to remain at home for a while to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease. Also, avoid the following:


  • Always ensure body hygiene.
  • Don't touch the eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Share towels, handkerchiefs, or clothes with other people. It is recommended to wash clothes every day and does not lend to others.
  • Do not use contact lenses and cosmetics-related to the eyes such as mascara.
  • If the patient is still a child, prevent the child from being close to other children from happening.


Patients will usually be immediately referred to an ophthalmologist who will examine the eyelids or take bacterial samples from the eyes for laboratory tests.

Treatment of Trachoma

Trachoma can be treated with antibiotics and has a good cure rate if detected early. Treatment can be different if it turns out the patient has been at a more serious stage of development of Trachoma. Some types of Trachoma treatment, namely:

The administration of drugs, usually carried out in the early stages of the development of Trachoma using antibiotics. Azithromycin or tetracycline eye ointment is some examples of antibiotics that will be given by a doctor.

The eye surgery procedure is a possible step if Trachoma is at a more severe stage, such as:

Installation of adhesive bandages on feathers
The goal is not to touch the eyes. This procedure is temporary or if there is no procedure for removing eyelashes at the location of the patient's treatment.

Eyelash removal
This procedure can be done repeatedly to prevent eyelashes from growing in and injuring the cornea of the eye.

Eyelid screening procedure
This procedure is done by making an incision on the injured petal and keeping the eyelashes from the cornea. This procedure can also help prevent further damage to the cornea.

Corneal transplant.
This procedure is carried out if Trachoma has caused serious visual disturbances due to scar tissue in the cornea. However, corneal transplants due to Trachoma is often not able to improve vision or do not have good results.

Trachoma infection is highly contagious and can occur repeatedly until treatment measures are usually carried out on a larger and wider scale to stop the spread in areas with many cases of Trachoma.

The WHO advised an area with a case of Trachoma children that reached more than 10 percent of the total population to get Trachoma treatment for all members of the population.

Complications of Trachoma

Trachoma infections that are not treated immediately or recurrent Trachoma can cause serious complications. Some complications that might occur, namely:


  • Scarring on the inner surface of the eyelid.
  • Change in shape on the eyelids. The eyelids can fold inward (entropion), or ingrown lashes (trichiasis).
  • Scar tissue in the cornea.
  • Reduced partial or complete loss of vision.


Prevention of Trachoma

Trachoma should be treated to prevent transmission or recurrence of infection. It is a good idea for family members who live with the sufferer to also have eye examinations, and if necessary treatment, to ensure that Trachoma does not endanger other people around them.

Start doing actions that lead to the creation of a clean and healthy environment for yourself and others around you. Thus you will also help prevent the development and transmission of disease. Some actions that can be taken, including:


  • Wash hands and face. Get used to wash your face and hands to get rid of bacterial fluids from the eyes and reduce the risk of transmission of infection. This is why clean water sources are also needed in densely populated areas.
  • Reducing the population of flies will also reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Managing the disposal of garbage or human or animal waste is one way to reduce the proliferation of flies.
  • Adding and maintaining clean and freshwater sources will help maintain environmental cleanliness.


A strategy has been developed by the World Health Organization as part of efforts to prevent Trachoma through the SAFE method, namely:


  • Surgery in an effort to treat Trachoma at an advanced stage (Surgery)
  • Giving antibiotics to treat and prevent infection (Antibiotics)
  • Maintain facial cleanliness
  • Increased feasibility of sanitation, water, and control of flies in residential environments (Environmental improvements)
Title: Trachoma, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications, Prevention | Written by: Body Health | Rating Blog: 5 out of 5

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