We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Trachoma FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Alison E. Burke, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2009;302(9):1022. doi:10.1001/jama.302.9.1022.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Trachoma, a disease caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis, affects more than 80 million individuals worldwide, and 8 million persons are blind because of this infection. Inflammation of the conjunctiva (lining of the eye surface) causes irritation and scarring, leading to blindness if trachoma is not treated. Trachoma is a serious public health problem in developing countries. Better sanitation and improved clean water supplies are ways to decrease the prevalence of trachoma and reduce trachoma-related blindness. Trachoma occurs in children as well as adults in all parts of the world. Women are much more likely than men to develop trachoma or become blind from trachoma. In the United States, blindness due to trachoma has been eliminated because of widespread prevention and treatment efforts. Since trachoma is a contagious disease, it can occur in family groups or in persons who live in close quarters. The bacteria are spread by secretions from the eye or the nose and pass from person to person. Flies can also pass on the bacteria, especially in areas that have poor sanitation. The September 2, 2009, issue of JAMA includes an article about the effects of mass distribution of an antibiotic for treatment and prevention of trachoma.


  • Eye redness

  • Purulent (pus) drainage from the eye

  • Eye irritation or pain

  • Poor vision or visual loss

  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)

  • Inverted (turned under) eyelashes (trichiasis) or eyelids (entropion)


  • Antibiotics, in oral form or in eye ointment, can be used to treat trachoma. Preventing trachoma in larger populations can also be done by administering antibiotics to persons who do not yet show active signs of the disease.

  • Surgical treatment may be necessary to correct the inversion of eyelashes caused by scarring. Permanent eye damage can occur from irritation and inflammation and can be made worse by eyelid inversion.

  • Improved sanitation, better water supplies, and more hygienic living conditions all may help to reduce trachoma and its main complication, blindness.

  • Eye products, including cosmetics, ointments, or contact lenses, should never be shared.

  • There is currently no vaccine available for trachoma.



To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA 's Web site at http://www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish. A Patient Page on causes of visual impairment was published in the October 15, 2003, issue.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, National Eye Institute, Lighthouse International, American Academy of Ophthalmology

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles