The Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology

Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology:

Issue 1, January/February 2017 Original Study - Clinical

Preventing Long-Term Ocular Complications of Trachoma With Topical Azithromycin: A 3-Year Follow-up Study

Afghani, Tayyab; Mansoor, Hassan; Nadeem, Mohammad

Author Information

From the *Department of Orbit and Oculoplastics, Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan; And †Department of Community Ophthalmology, Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.


Reprints: Hassan Mansoor, MBBS, Department of Community Ophthalmology, Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Jhelum Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. E-mail:



Purpose: To determine the role of a single cycle of topical azithromycin in preventing long-term trachoma complications in children from an area with endemic trachoma.

Design: A longitudinal cohort study.

Methods: Two hundred thirty-eight (n = 238) children with active trachoma were enrolled in the current study. They were aged 1 to 10 years, with trachomatous inflammation based on the simplified World Health organization grading system. These children were identified out of a survey of 8600 children from 7 villages in Punjab, Pakistan, where trachoma was endemic. The studied patients with active trachoma were treated with a single regimen of azithromycin 1.5% eye drops, given twice daily for 3 days, and were followed up for 3 years. The long-term effects of this therapy were documented for the first time in an endemic area.


Results: Two hundred fourteen children (90%) were present at 1-year follow-up with 10% dropout, and 178 (75%) were present at 3-year follow-up with 25% dropout. Of these, 23% and 11% had active trachoma at 1 and 3 years, respectively. Active trachoma was minimized from 100% at baseline to 11% at the end of 3 years. The reinfection rate was 4%. None of the patients developed trachoma-related ocular complications during the study period.


Conclusions: A single cycle of topical azithromycin can be used as an effective and safe option for treating active trachoma in children in endemic areas. This study also documented that a single cycle of topical azithromycin prevents trachoma-related ocular complications in an endemic area.

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