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    Peer Reviewed

    Trachoma: leading cause of infectious blindness.

    Weir E; Haider S; Telio D

    CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2004 Apr 13; 170(8):1225.

    Trachoma is a chronic keratoconjunctivitis caused by repeated infection with the ocular serovars A, B, Ba and C of Chlamydia trachomatis. The name, derived from the Greek word for “rough,” describes the appearance of the lymphoid follicles apparent with trachomatous inflammation when the upper eyelid is everted and the upper tarsal conjunctiva inspected. A single episode of C. trachomatis ocular infection produces a self-limiting mucopurulent conjunctivitis. Repeated infections lead to conjunctival scarring and distortion of the lid margin, which causes the eyelashes to turn inward (entropion) and repeatedly rub against the cornea (trichiasis). The catastrophic outcome is corneal opacification and, ultimately, blindness. Trachoma is second only to cataracts as a cause of blindness and accounts for about 15% of cases of blindness in the world. In 1997 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 146 million people were actively infected, more than 10 million had trichiasis, and about 6 million were blind from corneal scarring. Active disease is most often seen in children, and women more often than men experience the visual loss that results from chronic, untreated disease, probably because of their greater direct contact with children. (excerpt)
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