TRICHIASIS, the last stage of an infection called trachoma, rarely hits the headlines. That is because it does not kill. It does, however, blind. More than 2m people suffer, half of whom have lost their vision. The condition, caused by certain strains of Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium, makes the eyelid turn inward. That causes the sufferer’s eyelashes to scratch his cornea when he blinks. People blink 15-20 times a minute, so the pain is relentless, and eventually the scarring caused by the scratching results in sightlessness.
Trachoma is preventable (by regular face washing and general cleanliness) and treatable (by an antibiotic called Zithromax and by surgery to correct deformed eyelids). But, until recently, where such efforts should be concentrated was not clear. This changed with the publication earlier this month, by the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, of an atlas of risk.
Read the full press release on The Economist.com