St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Trachoma

    Granular conjunctivitis; Egyptian ophthalmia; Conjunctivitis - granular

    Trachoma is a bacterial infection of the eye.

    Causes

    Trachoma is caused by infection with the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.

    The condition occurs worldwide, mostly in rural settings in developing countries. It frequently affects children, although the effects of scarring may not be seen until later in life. While trachoma is rare in the United States, certain populations marked by poverty, crowded living conditions, or poor hygiene are at higher risk for this illness.

    Trachoma is spread through direct contact with infected eye, nose, or throat secretions or by contact with contaminated objects, such as towels or clothes. Certain flies can also spread the bacteria.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms begin 5 to 12 days after being exposed to the bacteria. The condition begins slowly as inflammation of the tissue lining the eyelids (conjunctivitis, or "pink eye"), which if untreated may lead to scarring.

    Symptoms may include:

    • Cloudy cornea
    • Discharge from the eye
    • Swelling of lymph nodes just in front of the ears
    • Swollen eyelids
    • Turned-in eyelashes

    Exams and Tests

    An eye exam may reveal scarring on the inside of the upper eye lid, redness of the white part of the eyes, and new blood vessel growth into the cornea.

    Laboratory tests are needed to accurately identify and detect the bacteria and diagnose trachoma.

    Treatment

    Antibiotics can prevent long-term complications if used early in the infection. Antibiotics include erythromycin and doxycycline. In certain cases, eyelid surgery may be needed to prevent long-term scarring, which can lead to blindness if not corrected.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Early treatment before the development of scarring and lid deformities has an excellent prognosis.

    Possible Complications

    If the eyelids are severely irritated, the eyelashes may turn in and rub against the cornea. This can cause eye ulcers, additional scars, vision loss, and possibly, blindness.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you or your child recently visited an area of the world where trachoma is common and there are symptoms of conjunctivitis.

    Prevention

    Improved sanitation and not sharing items such as towels are important measures for limiting the spread of trachoma.

    References

    Chidambaram JD, Chandler RD, Lietman TM. Pathogenesis and control of blinding trachoma. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane’s Ophthalmology. 15th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009:chap 60.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Eye

      illustration

      • Eye

        illustration

      Tests for Trachoma

        Review Date: 9/3/2012

        Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


        Back  |  Top
        About Us
        Contact Us
        History
        Mission
        Locations & Directions
        Quality Reports
        Annual Reports
        Honors & Awards
        Community Health Needs
        Assessment

        Newsroom
        Services
        Brain & Spine
        Cancer
        Heart
        Maternity
        Orthopedics
        Pulmonary
        Sleep Medicine
        Urgent Care
        Women's Services
        All Services
        Patients & Visitors
        Locations & Directions
        Find a Physician
        Tour St. Luke's
        Patient & Visitor Information
        Contact Us
        Payment Options
        Financial Assistance
        Send a Card
        Mammogram Appointments
        Health Tools
        My Personal Health
        mystlukes
        Spirit of Women
        Health Information & Tools
        Clinical Trials
        Health Risk Assessments
        Employer Programs -
        Passport to Wellness

        Classes & Events
        Classes & Events
        Spirit of Women
        Donate & Volunteer
        Giving Opportunities
        Volunteer
        Physicians & Employees
        For Physicians
        Remote Access
        Medical Residency Information
        Pharmacy Residency Information
        Physician CPOE Training
        Careers
        Careers
        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
        Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile