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A day in the life of a patient suffering from Trachoma

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I am finding it a bit difficult to write this short story about my own life. I wanted to share my experience about the disease, Trachoma. I am suffering from this condition since a few weeks. The main problem I am facing due to Trachoma is it has affected my vision. This infection has caused damage to my eyes. Let me explain how my life has changed due to trachoma and the vision impairment caused due to it.

Waking up in the morning

I wear spectacles as I am suffering from nearsightedness since my childhood. So, it’s a habit to reach out to my glasses the moment I get up in the morning. As if this was not enough, now, my vision has become worse due to Trachoma. Wearing glasses doesn’t help me to see clearly, thanks to Trachoma.

I find it difficult to open my eyes in the morning as my eyelids have swollen and become rough. I also experience pain while blinking due to the roughness. So, I try to move about slowly with my eyes open only slightly.

Starting the day

The doctor told me that Trachoma is caused due to the infection by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. It usually affects the eyes and the nose. My days begins with trying to adjust with the bright rays of sunlight entering my bedroom.

I try to complete my morning tasks like brushing my teeth and taking a bath with my eye half open. Since I am staying at my current residence for many years, I don’t have to face much of a difficulty in moving about with my eyes closed. However, the pain, roughness, and dimness of vision caused due to Trachoma do pose a lot of problems when I am outdoors.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Luckily, there is not much of a change in my diet. I have always followed healthy dietary habits. However, nowadays I take extra precautions to make sure the food is hygienic. The doctor told me that the bacteria responsible for causing Trachoma can spread if a person comes in contact with the discharge from the nose or the eyes of the affected patient.

So, I wash my hands well before eating meals and avoid touching the utensil for serving the food on my plate. I fear I may pass on the germs to others when they touch the same utensil and then, touch their eyes with the same hands. The doctor has advised me to increase my intake of vitamin A rich foods. This vitamin can help to improve the eyesight. So, I have included carrots in my regular diet.

Going to work and taking the treatment

Trachoma has affected both of my eyes. It causes mild itching and irritation of my eyes and the eyelids along with a sticky discharge. There is also some amount of pain in my eyes. The doctor has advised me against straining my eyes as it may hamper the recovery.

So, I have decided to take a leave from my job till the infection subsides completely. I understand that my vision is more important for my life than anything else. The doctor has prescribed me a treatment with Azithromycin, which is an antibiotic, to control the infection. He has also advised me to use tetracycline eye ointment for local application.

Prevention of complications

Luckily, this is the first episode of Trachoma for me. Some patients have a tendency to develop recurring infections with this bacteria due to which there is long-term damage to the eyes. They have a higher risk of developing complications like scarring of the eyelids, and even deformities of the eyelids, such entropion and ingrown eyelashes.

In case, I develop Trachoma repeatedly; it may even lead to blindness. I will have to follow the proper hygienic precautions to protect myself from such complications.

What are the daily limitations and what are the fears?

Though I am able to perform my routine tasks with minimal difficulty, I cannot ignore the fact that Trachoma has put several restrictions on my daily life. I have developed small bumps on the eyelid due to which I experience pain while blinking my eyes. I have to try and keep my eyes closed as much as possible.

Additionally, I have also developed thickening of the eyelids along with some amount of scarring. I am afraid the scarring may lead to a permanent distortion of the structure of my eyes leading to an abnormality like entropion or trichiasis.

How does the future look like?

If I develop repeated episodes of Trachoma in the future, it may cause the eyelashes to be drawn inwards causing them to rub on the surface of my eyes. This may lead to permanent damage to my cornea. The worst part about Trachoma is it can cause permanent blindness.

What are the risk factors?

Trachoma is transmitted from one person to another through the personal contact via clothes, hands, or even bedding. It can also be transmitted through flies that have come in contact with the discharge from the nose or eyes of an infected person. The risk of Trachoma can be reduced by taking precautions to avoid direct contact with the personal belongings of the patients diagnosed with this disease. 

The cause and evolution of Trachoma

I started developing the symptoms of Trachoma about a month ago. The doctor told me that this disease has an incubation period of 5 to 10 days. So, I might have come in contact with the bacteria responsible for causing this infection a week prior to the same.

I am suffering from the active phase of trachoma. This disease has caused several symptoms such as pain and irritation in my eyes, discharge from the eyes, as well as dimness of vision. I am aware that any negligence with respect to the treatment or the hygienic precautions will cause the disease to progress to the more severe stage of scarring.

What are the psychological effects when you have Trachoma?

My life would be reduced to just a lot of restrictions, and dependency if I develop the scarring phase of Trachoma. I am worried about the complications I may develop if this infection is not controlled properly.
It may leave permanent scars in the cornea and eyelids, which would lead to blindness. Just the thought of how my life would change if I develop such problems worries me a lot. I am passing through a very anxious and stressful period of my life.

Topics: Trachoma

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Written by Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy is a doctor having a clinical experience of more than 15 years. She has an expertise in treating acute and chronic diseases like obesity, IBS, asthma, arthritis, Autism, ADHD, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, cancer, infections, and skin diseases. She believes in treating the patients in a holistic manner. She aims at educating the patients about the illness and providing tips related to their lifestyle and diet to ensure a long-term relief from the disease and preventing its recurrence.