Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. In the regions of Ethiopia around Alaba, Soddo, and Gurage, where these images where taken, this disease was a pandemic during December, 2006.
Caused by fly-born bacteria, the infection turns the eyelids inward, scratching the eyeball, causing unbearable itching and scarring that inevitably leads to blindness if not treated, early, with what amounts to a dollar's worth of antibiotics, or one half-hour surgery performed by specialized nurses.
Today, 1.3 billion people still can’t access clean water. 2.6 billion people can’t access proper sanitation, and an estimated 14 million people die from treatable diseases. A staggering 2 billion more - almost a third of the world’s population - are infected and debilitated from treatable diseases. These shatter families, jolt economies into negative growth, and destabilize security and food supplies. Trachoma is one such disease.