Skin Pigment Disorder
1 out of 16,000
In The US: 20,000
Meet People With:
Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000. Most children with albinism are born to parents who have normal hair and eye color for their ethnic backgrounds.
A common myth is that people with albinism have red eyes. Although lighting conditions can allow the blood vessels at the back of the eye to be seen, which can cause the eyes to look reddish or violet, most people with albinism have blue eyes, and some have hazel or brown eyes. There are different types of albinism and the amount of pigment in the eyes varies; however, vision problems are associated with albinism.Vision Considerations
People with albinism have vision problems that are not correctable with eyeglasses, and many have low vision. It’s the abnormal development of the retina and abnormal patterns of nerve connections between the eye and the brain that cause vision problems. The presence of these eye problems defines the diagnosis of albinism.
The degree of impairment varies with the different types of albinism. Although people with albinism may be considered “legally blind” with a corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or worse, most learn to use their vision in a variety of ways and are able to perform innumerable activities such as reading, riding a bike or fishing. Some have sufficient vision to drive a car.Dermatological Considerations
Because most people with albinism have fair complexions, it’s important to avoid sun damage to the skin and eyes by taking precautions such as wearing sunscreen or sunblock, hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing.