Albinism is a hereditary genetic disorder that is characterized by a lack of skin pigmentation. Enlighten yourself about this prevalent disease by reading up a few interesting facts highlighted in this article.

Albinism Facts

You’ve definitely encountered albinos at some point of your lifetime and you probably deduced that apart from their physical appearance, they are normal people! Their skin color and hair is unusually light, even when they don’t descend from a Caucasian bloodline. Depending upon the level of pigmentation present in the body of an albino, skin and hair color varies! It is primarily the lack of melanin pigment that prompts the cataclysm of this hypopigmentary genetic disorder, popularly referred to as albinism or achromatosis. The term 'albinism' stems from the Latin word ‘albus’, which directly translates into white. Estimates disclose that every one in seventy people carry the recessive gene triggering albinism and around one in every 17,000 people suffers from the albinism disease. The worst effect of the disease is that it often leads to impaired vision (ocular albinism) and in several other cases, it affects both the skin and the eyes (oculocutaneous albinism). Learn a few more interesting facts of this disease as you make a trip down this page.
Facts About Albinism
  • Although statistics say that albinism occur in both genders equally, science has proved that men are more prone to albinism than women are.
  • Majority of the albinism cases have inevitably transpired due to inheritance of the albinism gene (recessive alleles) from either one parent or both. Moreover, two non-albinistic parents can indeed give birth to an albinistic offspring, possibly if the parents are carriers of albinism gene. Such instances are nonetheless rare, but not as rare as albinism, emerging as a result of gene mutations.
  • A certain type of ocular albinism passes on from the mother to her son. Mothers carrying the Ocular Albinism (OA1) gene are likely to bear sons with a serious eye malfunction.
  • Lack of eye pigmentation in any albino elicits a skyrocketing increase in one’s eye sensitivity to light. Taking into account that the melanin pigment is crucial for full development of the retina, the retina of an albinistic person develops abnormally.
  • Not very often does albinism inflict more danger or harsh side effects upon the eyes, but damaged vision caused by albinism is a malady to watch out for! Exposure to the rays of the sun can be largely perilous for those suffering from a shortage of melanin. Melanin shields our tissues from ultraviolet radiation, thus making it essential for albinos to protect themselves properly from the piercing sun rays every time they step outdoors. Not only do their chances of getting sun-burnt double up, but the risk of skin cancer under such sunlit circumstances is very high.
  • You will be surprised to learn that even plants and animals bear the brunt of albinism. Just like humans lack pigment, so do plants and animals. Albino plants which fall short of photosynthetic pigment – chlorophyll do not last for more than ten days, while albino animals face eyesight problems, which, in turn, hamper their ability to hunt and fend for themselves.
  • Albinos have absolutely no reproductive shortcomings! It is a myth that albinos are sterile.
  • Diminished sharpness of vision is very commonly experienced by albinos. Nystagmus is another dilemma faced by patients of albinism. This dreaded condition causes the eyes to move in a oddly jerky motion. Some albinos, suffering from impaired vision due to this disease, resort to contact lenses, which usually improves their vision, while some rely on glasses with special telescopes on the lenses for optical assistance.
  • It is agreed that albinism causes “low vision”, or diminished visual perception, but one pushes it too far by assuming albinism causes complete blindness! Total blindness is very different from low vision or corrective blindness!
  • Albinism manifests its most severe form when there is little or no pigmentation of the skin, hair and eyes! Here, an individual’s appearance is blighted with white or platinum hair, pink skin and at times, pinkish eye color.
  • There is no plausible cure for albinism although quality of life for albinos can be improved manifold. It is wholly hereditary and hence cannot be transferred from person to person via coughs, dermal contact or blood transfusion.
  • The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation aims at adding brightness and a glimmer of hope to those many unfortunate victims of albinism and their families. An albino can still function like any other normal human being, if not better!
 So now you have most certainly inflated your knowledge repository of the albinism disease. This will surely come in handy for you!

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