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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jul 19;(3):CD004008.

Interventions for trachoma trichiasis.

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Gartnavel Hospital, Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow, UK G12 0YN.

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Trachoma is a leading cause of avoidable blindness. The World Health Organization recommends eliminating trachoma blindness by the SAFE strategy incorporating Surgery, Antibiotic treatment, Facial cleanliness and Environmental hygiene.


This review examined the evidence for the effectiveness of different interventions for trachoma trichiasis.


We identified trials from the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) on The Cochrane Library (2005, Issue 3), MEDLINE (1966 to September 2005) PubMed (searched on 21-09-06; last 90 days), EMBASE (1980 to September 2005), LILACS (March 2004) and the reference lists of included studies. We also contacted authors for details of other relevant studies.


We included randomised trials of any intervention intended to treat trachoma trichiasis and trials comparing different methods of delivering the same intervention.


Two review authors independently assessed trials. We contacted trial authors for missing data when necessary.


Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Three studies compared different surgical interventions. These trials suggest the most effective surgery is full-thickness incision of the tarsal plate and rotation of the terminal tarsal strip 180 degrees. One study showed that bilamellar rotation was more effective than unilamellar rotation but the other two studies did not. One trial found double-sided sticking plaster more effective than epilation for the immediate management of trichiasis but required frequent replacement (odds ratio (OR) 0.01, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.00 to 0.22). Another trial found community-based surgery increased convenience for patients without increasing the risk of complications or recurrence when compared to health centres. One trial found no difference between trichiasis surgery performed by ophthalmologists and integrated eye workers (OR 1.32, 95% CI 0.83 to 2.11). A trial comparing trichiasis surgery with and without concurrent administration of azithromycin found no difference in success rates at one year (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.67 to 1.46).


No trials show interventions for trichiasis prevent blindness. Certain interventions have been shown to be more effective at eliminating trichiasis. Full thickness incision of the tarsal plate and rotation of the lash-bearing lid margin through 180 degrees is probably the best technique and is preferably delivered in the community. The use of double-sided sticking plaster is more effective than epilation as a temporary measure. Surgery may be carried out by an ophthalmologist or a trained ophthalmic assistant. The addition of azithromycin treatment at the time of surgery does not appear to improve outcomes.

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