Trachoma infection is a treatable eye disorder caused by recurrent infections with ocular strains of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, which causes roughening of the inner surface of the eyelid. Trachoma is contagious, transmitted through contact with infected individuals’ noses, eyelids, eyes, or throat fluids. Your eyelids and eyes may initially experience considerable pain and irritation. You may then see puffy eyelids and fluid pouring from your eyes. Trachoma may cause blindness if left untreated.

Furthermore, Trachoma infection is particularly common in impoverished areas of Africa. In areas where trachoma is prevalent, rates of infection among younger children may reach 60 percent or more.


Trachoma symptoms and signs often involve both eyes and may include the following:

  • Redness of the eyes
  • Vision loss
  • Mucus or pus-containing eye dischargeĀ 
  • Eye pain
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Irritation and itchiness of the eyes and eyelids

Scarring of the inner lining of the eyelid occurs as the illness advances. The lashes curl inward and scrape the cornea. Trichiasis is the medical term for this illness. If trichiasis is untreated, the cornea becomes cloudy. This may result in corneal ulcers.


Most forms of conjunctivitis may be diagnosed with an eye exam by your ophthalmologist. If you went to a place where trachoma is frequent, he or she may collect a sample (culture). To do this, your physician will numb your eye and swab its surface. The testing procedure will verify whether the trachoma caused the eye infection.

An eye exam will indicate the following in more severe forms of trachoma:

  • eyelashes drawn inward
  • scarring on the upper eyelid’s interior
  • new blood vessel development in the cornea


Trachoma treatment methods vary according to the stage of the illness.


In the early stages of trachoma, medications alone may be sufficient to eradicate the infection. Your physician may recommend that you take the following medications:

  • Tetracycline Eye Ointment or Azithromycin Oral (Zithromax)
  • Azithromycin


Later stages of trachoma, involving painful eyelid abnormalities, may need surgery.

  • Corneal transplantation: If your cornea has gotten cloudy to the point that it is substantially impairing your eyesight, this may be a viable alternative.
  • Eyelid rotation surgery (Bilamellar Tarsal Rotation): Your physician will make an incision in your scarred lid to pull your eyelashes away from your cornea.

In certain situations, you may undergo eyelash removal surgery (epilation). This process may have to be repeated.

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