Trachoma in Saudi Arabia

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 1997 Sep;4(3):127-40. doi: 10.3109/09286589709115720.


Aims & background: The main objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence and magnitude of trachoma in Saudi Arabia and to evaluate the factors that play a role in the transmission and severity of the disease.

Methods: The samples consisted of a stratified multistage random cluster design that selected defined primary sampling units of 50-60 housing units in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan communities.

Results: In 1984, evidence of trachoma (active and inactive) was found among 22.2% of the Saudi population and 6.2% of the Saudis had evidence of active trachoma. In addition, 17.4% had conjunctival scarring as a result of old trachoma, and 1.5% had entropion or trichiasis. In 1994, clinical evidence of trachoma (active and inactive) was found among 10.7% of the Saudi population while 2.6% had active trachoma. Conjunctival scarring as a result of healed trachoma was seen in 8.1% and 0.2% had entropion and trichiasis. The prevalence of trachoma in households was directly related to the presence and appearance rating of children in a household, the presence of flies, and the appearance rating of the household itself. An increase in individual risk was found among women who veil and men who use kohl.

Conclusion: This study has shown a remarkable decrease in the prevalence of active trachoma in Saudi Arabia over the past decade. The findings should serve as a basis for future plans for prevention and intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • Conjunctiva / microbiology
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Cornea / microbiology
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Random Allocation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trachoma / diagnosis
  • Trachoma / epidemiology*
  • Trachoma / transmission