Br J Ophthalmol 89:1084-1088 doi:10.1136/bjo.2005.066076
  • World views

Characteristics of trichiasis patients presenting for surgery in rural Ethiopia

  1. M Melese1,
  2. E S West2,
  3. W Alemayehu1,
  4. B Munoz2,
  5. A Worku3,
  6. C A Gaydos4,
  7. S K West2
  1. 1Project ORBIS, Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  2. 2Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
  3. 3Department of Community Health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  4. 4International Chlamydia Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Emily S West PhD, 116 Wilmer Building, 600 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA;
  • Accepted 1 March 2005


Aims: To determine the characteristics of trichiasis patients presenting for surgery in Wolayta Zone of Ethiopia.

Methods: Patients referred for trichiasis surgery by community health agents were evaluated by trained integrated eye care workers (IECWs) for the presence of trichiasis, locations of inturned lashes, severity of trichiasis, corneal opacity, and visual acuity.

Results: 1635 individuals with trichiasis presented for surgery. 82% had bilateral trichiasis; 91% of patients reported trichiasis duration of >2 years. Epilation was practised by over three fourths of the study subjects. A high proportion of patients tested positive for ocular Chlamydia trachomatis at presentation. 17% had monocular blindness and 8% were binocularly blind. Corneal opacity was highly associated with the trichiasis duration and severity and visual loss was associated with corneal opacity.

Conclusion: Severe trichiasis reflects the magnitude of the trachoma problem in Ethiopia. Visual impairment due to trichiasis is highly associated with disease severity and duration. Early intervention to correct trichiasis before it become severe is recommended to prevent visual impairment.


  • Competing interests: none declared