Getting to know Trachoma, the disease that causes the highest blindness in Africa

Most people assume that blindness is caused by eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, or the aging process. Even though there is one bacterial infection in the eye that causes blindness. This disease is called trachoma, which is the highest cause of blindness in the world with the most cases being in Africa. This disease is classified as an infectious disease and is vulnerable to attacking children aged 3 to 5 years.

Causes of Trachoma

Trachoma is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This disease usually attacks the eyes and eyelids first with initial symptoms of mild irritation and itching. In addition, these bacteria can cause chlamydia (chlamydia) sexually transmitted diseases and are transmitted from someone who has been infected with this bacterium. Transmission of this disease occurs due to touch or intermediate objects, insects, and even flies that perch in the area around the eyes.

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The bacteria infects and causes inflammation of the inner lining of the eyelids. Infections that continue to occur make the eyelids fold inward and the growth of the lashes to go in so that it hurts the eyes. As a result, scar tissue in the cornea of the eye becomes infected and makes pus and mucus that contains the bacteria come out and trigger transmission to others. This disease is easy to attack in areas with poor sanitation. Uncontrolled fly populations in an area can quickly trigger the spread of this disease.

Trachoma Symptoms

Trachoma that occurs in children generally develops the disease slowly, then the symptoms that are felt to be more painful until adulthood. Symptoms of this disease include:

  • The eyes are itchy, painful, and red.
  • Occur irritation of the eyes and eyelids.
  • The discharge of pus and mucus from the eyes.
  • Eyes are sensitive to light.
  • Vision becomes blurred.

Trachoma Treatment

Like most diseases, trachoma is easier to treat if it has been detected early. Treatments used usually use antibiotics to fight infectious bacteria. But treatment can vary by person depending on the extent of the development of the disease. Here are some treatments that can be done:

  • Medications, usually patients will be given azithromycin or tetracycline eye ointment that must be used according to the doctor’s instructions.
  • Eye surgery, there are several surgeries that are performed according to their severity. First is to put adhesive bandages over the lashes that aim so that the lashes do not touch or injure the eyeball. Secondly by lifting the lashes so that the lashes do not grow inward and hurt the eyeball. The third way is by turning the eyeball, this procedure is done by making an incision on the injured calyx and keeping the eyelashes from the cornea.This procedure can help prevent further damage to the cornea. Finally, with a corneal transplant , this is done when the trachoma causes serious visual impairment due to scar tissue in the cornea. But this last method is not able to restore vision.

Check regularly for eye health to avoid diseases that are prone to impairing the quality of vision.

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