Are you aware that one of the oldest eye diseases in the world is known as trachoma? Recently, Caroline Harper, the CEO of Sightsavers spoke in a TED talk in Vancouver to discuss what causes blindness. Ms. Harper suggested that we could be just years away from accomplishing this. Why her drive to learn more about whether or not this could be prevented? Trachoma is an infection, and it causes scar tissue to form under the eyelid. This impedes vision as well as causes blindness as it continues to form. This ultimately leads the individual with no option for a cure.
The blindness occurs not because of the scar tissue itself, but because it does form, it can cause the eyelashes to invert. As the lashes rub over the cornea continuously, this is what can cause blindness. There really is no option for relief for those who have this disease, other than to keep tweezers close by to remove the eyelashes. Currently, girls in Africa wear tweezers around their neck to ensure that they always have them close by to remove eyelashes when ready.
Trachoma has been around for many years, dating back to ancient Egypt. Although it has been problematic, visionaries and doctors focused on innovative technology in eye health are seeing positive change. They feel it is time to find ways to prevent or slow down the process by which trachoma occurs. Furthermore, once it occurs, there has to be a better way to treat it. It was in 2012 that the country of Oman was the first to determine how to eliminate trachoma as a public health issue. Undoubtedly, with technology and a collaboration of doctors and eye specialists seeking answers, the problem of trachoma is coming to a close.
Around the world, there are groups known as “ministries” that are focused on health. They know that the battle against trachoma has been long, and a difficult war at that to fight. Working together with the World Health Organization is making a tremendous impact on those who are working to treat this infectious eye disease and find ways to prevent it.