Trachoma in Saudi Arabia

Khalid F. Tabbara, Othman M. Al-Omar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS and 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalOphthalmic Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Blindness
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Trachoma
  • Trichiasis
  • Visual loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Epidemiology


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