Trachoma is medically known as granular conjunctivitis which is a bacterial eye infection. Bacterium Chalmydia trachomatis is said to cause this infection and this is chronic taking long time to cure. The infection is transmitted to mothers who take care of their infected children. Some women may also get this infection through day nursery. Trachoma may cause corneal abrasions or even scarring and in rare cases it may cause loss of vision permanently.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the major cause for getting infection of trachoma. It largely affects children and its effect is felt in the form of scarring for long time in life. It can also spread if any person comes into direct contact with the affected person or shares his towels or clothing. Common fly is also another reason that helps in carrying these bacteria thereby spreading the disease.
Chlamydia is gram negative bacteria and sometimes it may also cause infections on the genitals of children and adults. Bacterium of group Serovars D-K causes this chronic follicular conjunctivitis.
Some of the common signs of trachoma are fluid like discharge from the eyes and cloudy cornea. The eyes become swollen due to the inflammation of the lymph nodes and for some children the eyelashes turn inward making it difficult to open the eyes. The lymph nodes of the ears may also develop swelling. The white part of the eyes may become reddish and painful.
The first symptom begins to appear only after 10-12 days of bacterial infection. It develops as a slow process starting in the form of inflammation of the eyelids lining and underlying tissues. If left untreated, it can cause permanent scarring on the eyes.
Your doctor or ophthalmologist may perform eye examination through which scarring on the eyelids become evident.
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Powerful antibiotics like erythromycin and doxycycline are prescribed for trachoma eye infection. In severe cases surgery is done for preventing long term effects of scarring. In short the medical care given for trachoma is described as “SAFE” where “S” means surgical care, “A” means antibiotics, “F” means facial cleanliness and “E” means environmental improvement.
World Health Organization recommends giving azithromycin ointment for treating trachoma but it is expensive. It is easy to use this medicine in the form or oral pills or eye drops. This drug is far effective when compared with tetracycline in removing the symptoms and it has less side effects. For some people there may be gastric problems and rash formation when high dosage of azithromycin is taken.
Surgery is done on to correct the loss of vision and recommended for individuals who have trichiasis, failing which it can cause blindness. By doing surgery, the eyelid rotation is limited which in turn reduces the process of scarring of cornea.
In bilamellar tarsal procedure, an incision is made on the scarred eyelids for correcting the eyelid rotation. However there is no guarantee that the person will not get infection again even after surgery.
Hence it is vital to make follow up care and regular visits to the clinic to ensure safety of the eyes.
In case of infection is present on the child it becomes necessary for all the family members to take preventive dosage of antibiotics for lowering the risk of infection.
Complications can occur when the eyelashes turn inward to rub against cornea causing eye ulcers and loss of vision.