A chronic contagious disease of the eye characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea and the formation of scar tissue, caused by infection with the virus-like bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.Trachoma is a chronic bilateral (both eyes) follicular conjunctivitis. Both the upper and lower conjunctivae have a follicular hypertrophy—the follicular reaction is most apparent in the upper conjunctiva, where the conjunctiva is bound down tightly to the underlying tarsus.
Trachoma is typically treated with antibiotics. In most cases, a course of antibiotics can cure the infection. The type of antibiotic used will depend upon where the patient lives. Most commonly used antibiotics to treat trachoma include Azithromycin and Tetracycline eye ointment.After years of targeted funding and research, trachoma has been wiped out in some regions and the WHO aims to vanquish it in remaining places by 2020. (Learn more in the related article about blindness from trachoma and trichiasis.) Research funded by the NIH's National Eye Institute (NEI) is playing a crucial role by identifying effective antibiotic regimens to combat the scourge. These include determining how often to administer treatment, what portion of a community must be reached and how to prevent re-infection.