Corneal sensitivity and presence of pathogenic organisms among participants who have undergone trichiasis surgery differ by surgical outcome

Yvette Schein, Jennifer C. Harding, Shannath L. Merbs, Sandra D. Cassard, Kasubi Mabula, Majid S. Othman, Sheila K. West, Emily W. Gower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To explore the potential association between reduced corneal sensation and/or conjunctival bacterial colonization and postoperative trichiasis and eyelid contour abnormalities after corrective eyelid surgery among participants with a history of trachomatous trichiasis. Methods: As an ancillary study to the Partnership for Rapid Elimination of Trachoma (PRET) Surgery Trial in southern Tanzania, we collected data on 580 PRET participants who had undergone trichiasis surgery 1 year earlier and 200 age-group-matched individuals without trichiasis. Assessments included eyelid status evaluation (presence and severity of postoperative trichiasis and/or eyelid contour abnormality), corneal sensitivity by Cochet-Bonnet aesthesiometer, a questionnaire on symptoms of ocular irritation, and conjunctival microbiology. We divided PRET participants based on their eyelid status and compared results across PRET groups and versus normals. Results: PRET participants had reduced corneal sensitivity compared with age-matched normals (mean sensitivity ranged from 2.8 to 3.8 cm in PRET participants vs. 5.9 cm in normals), and increasing severity of postoperative trichiasis was associated in a stepwise fashion with reduced corneal sensitivity (mean = 3.5 cm for mild and 2.6 cm for severe postoperative trichiasis). Conjunctival colonization with pathogenic bacteria was also associated with more severe postoperative trichiasis (Cochran-Armitage trend test P = 0.001) and with reduced corneal sensitivity (trend test P < 0.0001). Symptoms of ocular irritation were not associated with previous trichiasis surgery, postoperative trichiasis, or eyelid contour abnormality. Conclusions: These findings indicate that reduced corneal sensitivity accompanies trachomatous trichiasis and suggest that reduced corneal sensitivity may play an important role in the harboring of pathogenic bacteria on the ocular surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 4 2016


  • Corneal sensitivity
  • Surgery
  • Trachoma
  • Trichiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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