Trachoma is an infectious eye disease caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis and is the number one cause of blindness secondary to infection in the world. It is most prevalent in children in poor, underdeveloped countries where access to water and sanitation along with poor personal hygiene is present. Trachoma is spread by direct contact with infected individuals or objects such as towels and washcloths that have come in contact with infected individuals. Also, flies can carry the disease. Affected individuals experience symptoms similar to conjunctivitis, or "pink eye", including redness and swelling in and around the eye, eye discharge and inversion of the eyelashes toward the eye. Treatment for active trachoma consists of antibiotics, but if left untreated or if multiple infections occur over time, then corneal scarring may occur as a result of entropion and continuous irritation by the eyelashes, leading to vision loss and/or eyelid deformities. Dr. Elahi has spent a great deal of time treating patients in underdeveloped nations and trachoma is a common condition he addresses during his medical missions.
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