Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, responsible for the visual impairment of about 1.9 million people, of whom 1.2 million are irreversibly blind.
What is Trachoma?
It is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia Trachomatis which causes repeated conjunctivitis, and is spread by close contact with an infected person or through transmission by eye-seeking flies. It is most commonly found in poor, rural communities where people have limited access to clean water and healthcare. Each infection causes scar tissue to develop under the eyelid which eventually causes them to turn inwards. With every blink, their eyelashes scrape the surface of the eye, scarring the cornea and if left untreated, can lead to irreversible blindness. This final stage is known as trichiasis.
What are we doing about it?
The Trust’s Trachoma Initiative is implementing the SAFE Strategy to eliminate the disease in 12 countries across two regions of the Commonwealth.