Albinism

What is it?

What is Albinism?

Albinism is a congenital disorder that is caused by the lack of or complete absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Albinism occurs when a genetic defect makes your body unable to produce melanin, which is a natural substance that gives color to your hair,skin, and eyes. Albinism is inherited from recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, which includes humans.

Symptoms And Treatmets

Someone who has albinism will have one of these symptoms


  • Absence of color in the skin, hair, or eyes
  • Lighter than normal skin or hair
  • Patchy, missing skin
Many types of Albinism have these symptoms



  • Crossed eyes
  • Light sensitivity (Sometimes people with Albinism will be so affected by light they will have to wear sunglasses to make the light control able for them)
  • Rapid eye Movements
  • Vision problems, or functional blindness



Treatments

Because Albinism is a genetic disorder, treatment is limited. However, getting proper eye care is very important to the persons health because of the vision problems that go along with albinism. Many people with albinism have to wear special lenses to reduce the pain of seeing. Some ophthalmologists recommend getting surgery on muscles around the eyes to minimize nystagmus, which is where the eyes make lot of uncontrolled movements almost like a twitch.

Albinism Stats/Facts

1. Carriers have a 50% percent chance of passing the albinism gene to their child.
2. If both parents are carriers, there is a 25% chance for each of their children to have albinism.
3. It occurs in fewer than five people per 100,000 in the United States and Europe, but the rates are higher in other parts of the world.
4. People with albinism may be very far-sighted or near-sighted.
5. The four types of oculocutaneous albinism are designated as type 1 (OCA1) through type 4 (OCA4).
6. Overall, an estimated 1 in 20,000 people worldwide are born with albinism.
7. Studies suggest that type 4 occurs more frequently in the Japanese and Korean populations than in people from other parts of the world.
8. Type 3 albinism occurs more frequently in people from southern Africa.
9. The four types of albinism each result from mutations in a single gene.
10. Children with albinism typically develop at a pace that is 2-3 months behind children without the disorder.
11. There is an odd belief in Zimbabwe that a man with HIV or AIDS needs to have sex with a woman with albinism if he wants to be cured.
12. Every species on the planet has a mutation that occurs which causes albinism.
13. The oldest record of this skin disorder comes from the Roman Empire.
14. As long as someone’s skin is protected from UVA/UVB, the average lifespan of someone with this genetic disorder is actually longer than the general population.
15. Albinism is not contagious.
16. The rate of Albinism is highest in Tanzania and Burundi, where the disorder affects about 1 in every 1500 people.
17. People with albinism can synthesize Vitamin D about 5x faster than very dark-skinned individuals.
18. A study amongst individuals with albinism in Tanzania revealed that 100% exhibited skin damage by the first year of life.
19. Within Tanzania, less than 2% of albino children were expected to reach 40 years of age.
20. Advanced symptomatic cancers are observed in 50% of those with albinism between 20 and 30 years of age when proper skin protection is not utilized.
21. For people with albinism, their vision is many times in the range of 20/200.
22. About 1 in 70 people are albinism carriers, with one defective gene but no symptoms.
23. In the early 2000’s, a blood test has been developed that can identify carriers of the gene for some types of albinism.

Works Cited

"Albinism: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.



"23 Scarey Statistics of Albinism - HRFnd." HRFnd. N.p., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 20 March. 2016



Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.


"Albinism." - Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.