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Albinism Facts

A person with albinism possesses a particular genetic make-up that results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin, eyes or perhaps all three. The collection of genetic facts about albinism includes a description of one type referred to as oculocutaneous albinism or OCA. OCA affects the pigment of the hair, skin, and eyes of the person. In terms of genetics both parents must be carriers of a, "..defective OCA gene.." in order to have a baby with this type of albinism. A less common type of the condition is called Ocular Albinism (OA1) and it affects the eyes of the person who is born with it. A mother who carries the gene passes it on to the child. Most of the people with ocular albinism are male.

While a lot of people fret about getting a stray wart or two on their skin, someone with albinism must have constant vigilance regarding the amount of sun exposure he or she receives. For instance, one of the significant health implications for someone with albinism is the possibility of developing skin cancer. The fair skin that often characterizes albinism increases the risk of melanoma when the person is exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. In addition, people with albinism frequently face challenges with their eyes. They are often sensitive to light due to lack of pigmentation in the irises. People with albinism can experience a diminished sharpness of their vision as well. Nystagmus is another one of the vision problems caused by albinism. It's a condition that causes the eyes to move in a, "..jerky motion.."

Common Questions About Albinism

  1. How common is the incidence of albinism? The statistics reflect that about one person in seventeen thousand has a form of albinism.
  2. What optical assistance can people with albinism take advantage of? Some people with albinism are able to wear contact lenses to help improve their vision. Other people wear glasses with special telescopes on the lenses that give them assistance.
  3. Can a person with albinism drive? That decision is dependent upon the particular degree of vision of the person with albinism. Some people with albinism have better vision than others.
  4. Can the condition of albinism be treated? Albinism is a condition that will be with the person through his or her lifetime. However, certain procedures are available to help people with albinism to overcome physical challenges. For instance, albinism often causes a misalignment of the eyes. This can sometimes be corrected by wearing glasses or having a particular type of surgery.
  5. What is the autosomal recessive inheritance that relates to albinism? For this inheritance to occur a mother and father must both be carriers of the albinism gene. Though neither person has albinism, the chances are one in four that a baby produced by them will be born with the condition.
  6. Do all people with albinism have an abundance of vision challenges? No. One person with albinism may have vision that is only mildly affected, while another person with albinism is deemed legally blind. It varies with the individual's form of albinism.
  7. Is there an organization where people with albinism and their families can go for information? Yes. It's called the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.
  • An Overview of Albinism: Features a collection of facts about albinism including its symptoms and things that people with albinism can do to protect their health.
  • A Kid's View of Albinism: An excellent guide written for children to help them understand more about albinism.
  • A Look at Albinism: An in-depth look at how albinism affects the eyes of a person with the condition.

Today, there is no limit to the amount of opportunities a person with albinism can take advantage of in our society.

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