Trachoma and Mental Health

Date of Completion
September 2021

Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), funded at The Task Force for Global Health primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, by the UK aid from the British government and by the United States Agency for International Development through its Neglected Tropical Diseases Program.

Explore the impact of Trachomatous Trichiasis (TT) on common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicidality

The blinding stage of trachoma causes considerable pain, and ultimately visual impairment that may lead to physical and psychosocial impairment leading to mental health disorders. However, no studies have been conducted to specifically assess the association between TT and mental health disorders.

Key Findings
TT cases had substantially higher risk of depression (17.7% in TT cases vs 8.2% in non-TT participants. p=0.0006)
TT cases had substantially higher risk of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (4.9% vs 1.6%, p=0.035)
TT cases had substantially higher risk of suicidal behavior (7.9% vs 3.3%, p=0.025).
Stigma in TT cases was independently associated with suicidal behavior (odds ratio (OR)=1.37, 95% CI, 1.09–1.72, p=0.0071).
Vision impairment was strongly associated with depression (OR=2.04, 95% CI, 1.14–3.67, p=0.017).
Common mental health disorders in general were highly prevalent in TT cases than their non-trichiatic counterparts (22.0% vs 10.5%, p=0.0002).