Trachoma is a contagious bacterial infection which affects the conjunctival covering of the eye, the cornea, and the eyelids


  • Mild itching and irritation of the eyes and eyelids
  • Discharge from the eyes containing mucus or pus
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Eye pain
  • Abnormal growth of corneal blood vessels
  • Cornea scarring


  • Trachoma is caused by certain subtypes of a bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Transmitted by:
  • Direct contact with infected eye secretions
  • Contact with infected nasal or throat secretions
  • Contact with contaminated items such as towels, sheets, blankets or clothing
  • Flies that seek out the eyes

Risk Factors

  • Poor sanitation
  • Crowded living conditions
  • Lack of latrines
  • Flies
  • Poverty
  • Age: most common in children ages 4 to 6
  • Sex: most common in women than that of men

Diagnostic Tests

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination including an eye examination
  • Eye swab for laboratory testing
  • Eye is inspected with a bio microscope


  • Medications:
  • Tetracycline eye ointment
  • Oral azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Surgery:
  • Eyelid rotation surgery (bilamellar tarsal rotation)
  • Corneal transplantation
  • Epilation

Lifestyle Management

  • Proper waste management
  • Improved access to water
  • Face washing and hand-washing
  • Controlling flies