Trachoma Diagnosis and Treatment
Your ophthalmologist can diagnose most cases of conjunctivitis through an eye exam. He or she may take a sample (culture) if you visited a country where trachoma is common. To do this, he or she will numb your eye and swab the surface. The laboratory test will show if trachoma is the source of the eye infection.
In more severe cases of trachoma, an eye exam will reveal:
- scarring on the inside of the upper eyelid
- new blood vessel growth in the cornea, and
- eyelashes turned inward
How Is Trachoma Treated?
Antibiotics are effective in treating early cases of trachoma. Early treatment can prevent long-term complications.
More advanced cases may need surgery. The surgery repositions eyelashes that are growing inward toward the eye. This can help limit further scarring of the cornea and prevent further loss of vision.
An ophthalmologist can also treat severe scarring from trachoma with corneal transplantation. A corneal transplant can help if the cornea is so clouded that vision is significantly impaired.
Good hygiene, such as hand washing and face washing, can help prevent the spread of trachoma.
In order to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem, there is a WHO-recommended “S.A.F.E.” strategy which includes:
- Surgery for trichiasis
- Antibiotics to clear Chlamydia trachomatis infection
- Facial cleanliness, and
- Environmental improvement to reduce transmission.