Trachoma (truh-KOH-muh) is a bacterial infection that affects your eyes. The bacterium that causes trachoma spreads through direct contact with the eyes, eyelids, and nose or throat secretions of infected people.
Trachoma is very contagious and almost always affects both eyes. Signs and symptoms of trachoma begin with mild itching and irritation of your eyes and eyelids and lead to blurred vision and eye pain. Untreated trachoma can lead to blindness.
Trachoma is the leading preventable cause of blindness worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 8 million people worldwide have been visually impaired by trachoma. WHO estimates more than 84 million people need treatment for trachoma, primarily in poor areas of developing countries. In some of the poorest countries in Africa, prevalence among children can reach 40 percent.
If trachoma is treated early, it often may prevent further trachoma complications.