On July 1, 1798, trachoma and other external-eye diseases became a medical problem of the first magnitude: on that day, the French revolutionary army, led by General Napoleon Bonaparte, invaded Egypt. Europeans who previously had visited Egypt had commented on the extraordinary prevalence of eye diseases in that country, and in 1745, one traveler described Egypt as the “land of the blind.”2 The French, British, and other armies that invaded Egypt experienced severe trachoma and other infectious subtypes of ophthalmia while in that country. When the soldiers who fought in Egypt returned to their native countries, these infections were carried back to Europe and were further disseminated by the masses of soldiers marching across the European continent in the Napoleonic wars from 1798 to 1815.3 From Europe, trachoma and secondary infections became worldwide pandemics. At that time, trachoma was known as the military or the Egyptian ophthalmia; only later was its present name applied. For decades, trachoma had a greater effect on civilian and military affairs than any other disease since the bubonic plague. In the past, this disease had spread throughout the world, but during the past century, it has virtually disappeared from developed countries. Today, trachoma is found only in areas in which poverty, lack of personal and communal hygiene, lack of water for washing, and inadequate health care are prevalent.