How Much Do You Know Infectious Trachoma?
Trachoma is an infectious disease that affects your eyes. It was first discovered among the Egyptians around 15BC. As time goes on, it was then discovered in Mesopotamia and China. Gradually, in the 19th century. It became a very dreadful problem among the Europeans. Poor countries: underdeveloped countries like Africa and Asia now suffer from it. Soldiers returning from the European campaign and Napoleonic war that took place back in those days “between 1789 to 1815″ brought it and spread it when returning back home.
For developing countries, it was diagnosed in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it got eliminated as fast as possible. Its victims were found among those that are exposed to sweat and dust. It was easily defeated because of the advanced public health from the developed world, but it has not been completely eradicated. Trachoma has the ability to cause total blindness. 54 countries have been classified for blinding trachoma. Nowadays, it can only be found in countries with poor public health and poverty.
Universally, 80 million people have a lively infection. The infection is so rampant among children, estimated to be around 70%- 90% than that of adults. In adults, women are commonly infected than men because of the close intimacy with their children, and children tend to transfer the infection faster. Among the 80 million people worldwide, 2.2 million are suffering from impaired visions, while two million are completely blind. The treatment was discovered until the 1930s. All medical personnel involved in the cure search were not pleased with the cure rate until when Fred Leo introduced a treatment to it. His treatment rendered all prior rehabilitations obsolete, but it brought a solution. In our contemporary world now, discoveries are paving the way out.
Causes of Trachoma
This disease is naturally caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis. You cannot be infected unless you come in contact with an infected person. It only gets worsen if there is no treatment, and repeated infection will definitely leave your eye in discomfort or even cause blindness. From research and estimation, it was brought to notice that 500 million people are in danger of blindness.
Symptoms of Infectious Trachoma
You can only feel signs and symptoms on your eyelids, cornea, and conjunctiva. Since trachoma is a visual disease, here are some signs and symptoms that you might be noticing:
- Irritation and itching of the eye.
- Swelling of the eye
- Pain and redness of the eye
- Loss of vision
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Increased heart rate
Due to the impact and development growth of trachoma on ages and sexes. It is grouped into 5 stages. They include:
Trachomatous inflammation: this is the early stage of the infection. Follicles are formed on your eyelids (upper or lower). Disclosing it as a bump on the lymph tissue on the back of your upper eyelid. The follicles keep growing on the conjunctiva lining. In its early stage, it causes conjunctivitis.
Trachomatous Inflammation – intense: this next stage is swelling, your eye is infected and causes your upper eyelid to swell up, then it becomes irritated. Trachomatous inflammation is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which complicates the blood vessels.
Trachomatous scarring: this stage leads to severe scarring of the eyelids, which may cause your eyelid to be distorted. The scar is shown as a white line when magnified. This stage happens after many years of repeated infections.
Trachomatous trichiasis: the scarred lining of your eyelid continues to deform. Your eyelashes turn in, leaving the transparent outer surface of your eye to be rubbed and scratched by the eyelashes. (The turning of the eyelid margins inward is referred to as entropion, while the scratching of the eye is referred to as trichiasis).
Corneal clouding: at this stage, blindness is inevitable, as the name implies. The corneal is affected by inflammation under your upper eyelid. Over scratching and over rubbing can lead to abrasion of the cornea, which can result in ulcer and opaque scarring, which will block light from entering your eye.
Prevention and Treatment of Trachoma
This prevention deal with the environment. From what has been discussed earlier on, it can be found in places with poor public sanitation measures. A modified pattern should be made for activities in your environment. The use of insecticide spray significantly reduced trachoma and potential carrying agents. Public health education should be employed for its reduction and also proper waste management. It is also a good prevention measure to prevent breeding grounds for flies.
- Reduction in fly population by getting rid of their breeding space and the use of insecticides. The use of an anti-malaria kit like the mosquito net is also advisable to prevent infection.
- Provision and access to good hygienic water will improve healthy living. Also, keep your face and hand clean. Regular face washing and hand washing interfere with the cycle of infection.
- The use of antibiotics
The use of antibiotics like Azithromycin (oral usage) or tropical tetracycline (eye ointment). Also, azithromycin eye drop has proven to be effective. There is no actual vaccine recommended for trachoma currently.
- Surgery: This procedure is used for advanced trachoma. It helps to distant your eyelashes from the eye surface and the cornea. There are a whole lot of techniques that can be used, but the standard technique is the rotation of the eyelid to the outward–a bi-lamellar tarsal rotation. It is a complex surgery. It directs the eyelashes away from the globes.
For patients that have been seriously affected by trichiasis, the eyelashes will be removed on both or either sides of the eyelids. If not quickly taken care of, it will cause you a lot of discomfort in your sight. Another simple treatment for trichiasis is for the ophthalmologist to remove the eyelashes with tweezers to bring the eyelids to balance.
From the elimination method employed by the World Health Organization- WHO. The SAFE strategy was discovered to be the best procedure. They include:
Surgery for the advanced stage: trachomatous trichiasis
Antibiotics to get rid of infections before it gets to the blinding stage.
Facial cleanliness, i.e., by washing the face and hands.
Environmental improvement, especially sanitation and access to hygienic water.
Risk factors of Trachoma
There are so many factors that increase the risk of trachoma in an individual. They include:
There are so many insecurities associated with this. Inadequate access to clean water and poor hygiene aids the spread of this infectious disease. This factor is associated with environmental risk factors like a crowded household and so on.
Age has a factor is based on the level of immunity and cautions. In an area or community with a high population of infected people, it would be common in children around the age of 4 to 6 years, but active trachoma is very high among children between 1 to 9 years of age.
Women tend to get infected with trachoma than men do because of their close intimacy with children. In some places, the rate of infected women to that of men is around 2:6. The disease stores and hides in children more easily. It rarely shows symptoms in children.
Wet areas are breeding sites for flies. People living in such areas are likely to become more susceptible to infection. Bites from a mosquito can warrant being infected.
The Flies that Affect the Eye
Chloropidae are a family of flies that are generally referred to as frit grass or grass flies. There are over 2000 of its species. They are small flies with a yellow or black appearance. They are hairless flies; this feature makes them shine. The known species are either parasitic or predatory. Out of the species are hippelates and siphunculina are called the eye gnat or eye flies due to their magnetism to the eye.
Other eye infections include:
Conjunctivitis: it is commonly regarded as “pink eye’’ and the most common of all eye infections. The thin layer that covers the white layer of your eye is being inflamed.
Keratitis: it is the inflammation of the cornea. Improper treatment or no treatment can result in scarring of your eye or total loss of vision.
Endophthalmitis: this infection affects the fluid or tissue inside your eye. It requires urgent treatment.
Cellulitis: Cellulitis is just a bacterial infection that affects your eye, the surrounding skin near your eye, and your connective tissues underneath your eye.
Stye: it is found on the eyelids, either in the eyelashes follicles or oil glands of the eye. It is mostly caused by poor hygiene, i.e., touching your eye with unwashed hands.
Uveitis: from the name, it is an infection that affects your uvea, but it is mostly associated with other health conditions.