It is a chronic communicable disease of the eye and is an important cause of blindness in the world. More than 15 percent of the world’s populations suffer from trachoma. In recent years epidemics of conjunctivitis have also been reported.
Trachoma is more common in early summer and monsoon and is related to fly breeding. The children of both sexes are affected more from this disease specially living in unhygienic conditions and overcrowded places. It is also common in school children.
It is caused by a virus called Chlamydia trachomitis that attacks mucous membrane covering the surface of the eyeball and lining of the eyelids.
Mode of Spread:
The disease may spread from one person to another by direct contact or indirect contact, handling of towels, clothes, handkerchiefs, surma or kajal sticks etc. used by infected persons. Swimming pools where water gets contaminated also act as a source of infection. Poor personal hygiene, overcrowding, poverty and malnutrition etc. are the contributory factors to the spread of this disease. Flies also play a major role in spreading trachoma.
The incubation period varies from 5-12 days. Signs and Symptoms
In includes development of granular elevations in the conjunctiva (outer covering of the eye), keratoconjunctivitis combined inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva), epithelial keratitis, pannus, progressive scarring with deformities of the eyelids, secondary bacterial infection and blindness.
Prevention and Control:
(i) Early diagnosis and treatment of the cases should be done.
(ii) Attempts should be made to remove illiteracy, ignorance, poverty and overcrowding.
(iii) Health education should be given to parents, children and students in schools regarding the spread, prevention and control of trachoma.
(iv) Common use of eye preparations, towel, handkerchief etc. should be avoided.
(v) Defecation in the open should be discouraged.
(vi) Anti-fly measures should be taken.
Treatment of trachoma consists of giving’ tetracycline’s and sulpha drugs for oral administration and 1% tetracycline eye ointment is applied daily twice a day. Deformities of eyelids require surgical treatment. Proper attention should be paid to personal hygiene.