Albinism

Definition:

An inherited condition that causes a lack of pigment in the hair, skin, or eyes.

Symptoms:

- Eye Problems such as too much light, lack of depth perception, and involuntary shifting of the eyes

- Skin conditions such as burning easily in the sun, do not tan, develop skin cancer, freckles, or large blotches of pigmentation

- Problems breathing

- Trouble healing when cut

- Bruise easily

- Frequent nosebleeds

- Bleeding gums when brushing teeth

- Abdominal cramps/diarrhea

Treatment and Management

- Should shield their sensitive eyes from the sun with UV protected sunglasses

- Surgery can alter their appearance

- Before surgery, some doctors have children wear an eye patch in attempt to strengthen the weaker eye

- Must cover skin with sunscreen of SPF 20 or higher whenever going into the sun

- Be aware of cancerous moles or birthmarks

- Avoid aspirin

- Should not smoke

Types of albinism

- Ocular: Mainly affects the eyes

- X-linked ocular: Occurs mostly in males, who inherit the gene from their mothers. This causes visual disabilities

- Oculocutaneous: affects hair, skin, and eyes. There are ten different types of Oculocutaneous albinism

- Tyrosinase-negative oculocutaneous: also known as Type 1A, which is most severe. Total absence of pigment in hair, skin, and eyes.

Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome: common in the Puerto Rican community. This is very rare.

Chediak-Higashi syndrome: also very rare, this interferes with white blood spcells and the body's ability to fight infection

Black Locks Albanism Deafness syndrome: also very rare, deafness from birth

Piebaldism: market by patches of white hair or lighter skin blotches on the body