The world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, it afflicts almost 2 million people worldwide.
Myanmar has become the tenth country worldwide to eliminate trachoma, following Cambodia, China, Ghana, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, and Oman, ZME Science reports.
Trachoma is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. In its early stages, trachoma causes conjunctivitis (pink eye) with symptoms appearing within five to 12 days of exposure. As the infection progresses, it causes eye pain and blurred vision.
If it’s left untreated, scarring occurs inside the eyelid, which makes the eyelashes turn inward toward the eye. As the eyelashes scratch against the cornea, it becomes irritated and eventually turns cloudy, which can lead to corneal ulcers and vision loss.
Generally, it takes years before trachoma causes vision loss, and in the early stages, antibiotics are very effective. More advanced cases may need surgery to limit further scarring of the cornea and prevent further loss of vision. A corneal transplant can help if the cornea is so clouded that vision is significantly impaired.
Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness globally and has long been considered a major public health problem in the Southeast Asian nation.