Albinism

Albinism is an inherited condition. People with albinism have absent or reduced pigment in their eyes, skin or hair. They have inherited genes that do not make the usual amounts of a pigment called melanin which is essential for the full development of the retina. Approximately one in 17,000 people have one of the types of albinism. People with albinism usually have a number of eye conditions such as:

1. photophobia (sensitivity to light) – they may feel dazzled by bright light
2. problems with eyesight – they may benefit from wearing glasses, although vision is often still impaired even with glasses (see below)
3. involuntary eye movements (nystagmus)

Depending on the amount of melanin a person has, they may have very pale hair, skin and eyes, but some may have brown or ginger hair and skin that can tan.

Regardless of their specific eye problems, many children born with albinism find they can see an object more clearly if they hold it very close to their eyes.

As they get older, it may be more difficult to hold objects up close, so a magnifying lens can help.

What are the symptoms of albinism?

  • Hair can be very light and skin very pale in some cases of albinism, however some people with the condition can have skin that tans and ginger hair.
  • Due to missing pigment from the iris people with this condition can have very light gray or blue eyes.
  • Vision problems; either complete loss of sight that can not be corrected or extreme long or short sightedness.- lack of visual responsiveness.
  • Medically known as Astigmatism – where the cornea (front of the eye) is not a perfectly curved shape or the lens is an abnormal shape- causes blurred vision.
  • Involuntary eye movements.
  • A squint.
  • What are the causes of Albinism in children?

  • Albinsim is a genetically inherited condition.
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