It is an infectious disease that can cause swelling of the outermost covering of the eye called the conjunctiva, pain and discharge from the eyes with itching. It spreads through touch, using common clothes, doorknobs used by the affected person, flies and domestic animals can be a cause of mechanical spread. Poor personal hygiene and lack of toilets and latrines is the cause of this blinding disease if left untreated.
Bacteria by the name of Chlamydia Trachoma is are the cause of Trachoma.
The symptoms include painful eyes, swollen eyelids, sticky, slimy discharge from the eyes, inward protraction of the eyelashes, itching of the eyes and ear, nose and throat infection.
Type of Trachoma
It is of three types:
01 Acute trachoma:
It is frequently found in children who are dirty, dusty and unhealthy. The symptoms include painful eyes, swollen eyelids, watery discharge from the eyes and itching of the eyes with ear, nose and throat infection. It usually affects one eye and gradually spreads to both the eyes.
02 Recurring trachoma:
If poor hygiene persists the person gets affected again and again.
03 Chronic Trachoma:
It causes inward turning of the eyelid such that the eye lashes rub against the cornea .Gradually the symptoms persist and instead of resolving lead to chronic trachoma and leads to blindness between the age of 30 to 40 years if left untreated. If it does not lead to blindness, it leads to scarring of the of the cornea of the eye.
Maintaining good hygiene and sanitation are essential to prevent this disease of the developing countries which has been eradicated from the developed countries. The steps include:
- Avoid physical contact with a person suffering from trachoma
- Personal cleanliness, especially of face and hands is important.
- Washing hands and face frequently with soap and water is important even in children who are already infected to prevent re-infection.
- Keep separate towels, handkerchiefs, and linens for each member of the family.
- Wash hands after handling domestic animals.
- Keep the food covered and use latrines and toilets for defecation to prevent breeding of flies.
- Avoid crowded places.
Azithromycin is used to treat the condition. Surgery is used to treat advanced stages of the disease.
It is one of the projects undertaken by WHO to eradicate blindness caused by Trachoma by 2020.
Homeopathy can play a major role in the treatment of the disease. It can treat acute and recurring stages of the disease, chronic trachoma needs surgical intervention.