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Saul N. Rajak, Pateh Makalo, Ansumana Sillah, Martin J. Holland, David C. W. Mabey, Robin L. Bailey, Matthew J. Burton; Trichiasis Surgery in The Gambia: A 4-Year Prospective Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(10):4996-5001. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-5169.
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Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness. Conjunctival Chlamydia trachomatis infection causes scarring, entropion, trichiasis, and blinding corneal opacification. Worldwide, there are 8 million people with trichiasis. Although trichiasis surgery can reduce the risk of blindness, retrospective data suggest that long-term recurrence rates may be high. A 4-year prospective investigation of recurrent trichiasis was conducted in The Gambia.
Patients with trichiasis were examined at baseline, 6 months, 1 year, and 4 years after posterior lamellar tarsal rotation surgery. Conjunctival swabs for bacteriology and PCR for C. trachomatis were collected at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year.
Three hundred fifty-six Gambian patients were enrolled at baseline and 266 were reassessed at 4 years (94% of surviving patients). The recurrence rates were 32%, 40%, and 41% at 6 months, 1 year, and 4 years, respectively. At 4 years, 30% of patients had bilateral trichiasis and 21% had bilateral corneal opacity. Recurrence was associated with severe conjunctival inflammation and severe trichiasis (>10 lashes) at baseline.
Trichiasis recurrence rates were high, and most cases recurred within 6 months of surgery. The results suggest that there are important aspects of surgical technique and quality that should to be addressed. Persistent inflammation is strongly associated with recurrence at 4 years.
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