ALBINISM

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Albinism is a defect of melanin production that
results in little or no pigment (color) in the skin,
hair and eyes. The most severe form of Albinism
is Oculocutaneous Albinism. People with this
type of Albinism have white or pink hair, skin,
and iris color.

CAUSES

The causes of albinism occur when one of several
genetic defects make the body unable to produce
or distribute melanin. Melanin is the yellowish-
brownish pigment found in the eyes, hair and
skin. The defects may be passed down through
families.

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SYMPTOMS

A person with Albinism will have one or more of the
following symptoms:
  • Absence of color in the hair, skin, or iris of the
eye.
  • Lighter than normal skin and hair.
  • Patchy missing skin color.

Many Forms of Albinism are associated with the
following symptoms:
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus).
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia).
  • Rapid eye movement (nystagmus).
  • Vision problems or functional blindness.

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TREATMENT

The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms. Treatment
depends on the severity of the disorder. Treatment also
involves protecting the skin and eyes from the sun.
These treatments include:
  • Reduce sunburn risk by avoiding the sun, using
sunscreen, and covering up completely with clothing
when exposed to the sun
  • Sunscreen should have a high sun protection
factor (SPF)
  • Sunglasses (UV protected) may relive sunlight
sensitivity.

Glasses are often prescribed to correct vision problems
and eye position. Eye muscle surgery is sometimes
recommended to correct abnormal eye movements.