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- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,
Trachomatous Scar Ranking: A Novel Outcome for Trachoma Studies
We evaluated a new trachoma scarring ranking system with potential use in clinical research. The upper right tarsal conjunctivas of 427 individuals from Ethiopian villages with hyperendemic trachoma were photographed. An expert grader first assigned a scar grade to each photograph using the 1981 World Health Organization (WHO) grading system. Then, all photographs were ranked from least (rank = 1) to most scarring (rank = 427). Photographic grading found 79 (18.5%) conjunctivae without scarring (C0), 191 (44.7%) with minimal scarring (C1), 105 (24.6%) with moderate scarring (C2), and 52 (12.2%) with severe scarring (C3). The ranking method demonstrated good internal validity, exhibiting a monotonic increase in the median rank across the levels of the 1981 WHO grading system. Intrarater repeatability was also better for the ranking method (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.74–0.94). Exhibiting better internal and external validity, this ranking method is ideal for evaluating the difference in scarring between groups of individuals.