By Kindall Carter

Discoverer of Albinism

In 1908, Sir Archibald Garrod, who was a British scientist and physician, had suggested that albinism was a condition that was probably caused by the failure of an intracellular enzyme. There are over 100 different mutations that can occur in the tyrosinase gene that cause albinism.

Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes, people with albinism don't look that different from parents or siblings without albinism. The most recognizable feature is pale skin and hair, and light eyes. Some people may produce melanin later on in life. Some people have eye problems relating to albinism, such as: rapid, involuntary eye movement; extreme nearsighted or farsightedness; sensitivity to light.

How often does it occur?

One in 17,000 people have some form of albinism. Albinism affects all ages and ethnicity. Most children with albinism are born to parents with normal hair and skin color for their ethnic background. Some people with albinism have white hair and very light blue eyes, some have blonde hair and blue eyes, while others can have brown hair and eyes. Some people might not even know they have albinism.

Types of Treatments

There is no cure for albinism but some treatment can relieve symptoms and prevent sun damage. Treatments include:

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and protective clothing to protect against UV rays.
  • Prescription eyeglasses for vision problems.
  • Surgery on eye muscles to correct abnormal eye movements.

Typical Prognosis

Most forms of albinism don't affect lifespan. People with albinism may have to limit their outdoor activities due to being sensitive to the sun. UV rays may cause skin cancer or vision loss in some people with albinism.

How Albinism is Inherited

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Explanation of How Albinism is Inherited

Albinism is a recessive trait in most forms, and most children born with albinism have parents with normal pigmentation. One in every 75 people are carriers for albinism.


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