Albinism is a genetic disorder. However, people from many cultures have developed several beliefs and myths related to people suffering from albinism. They are mocked, ill-treated, and sometimes even abused. In some cultures, they are even believed to be evil or are used in witchcraft. Through this article, we are bringing the facts and some vital information about this medical condition.
Albinism is a rare defect of production of melanin that results in little or no pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. As these melanin pigments are responsible for the brown, black, and yellow colorations, their absence cause the skin, hair and eyes to have little or no color. People suffering from it appear white or very pale. This constitutes the primary symptoms of albinism. Other symptoms may include vision problems such as crossed eyes, sensitivity to light, involuntary rapid eye movements and impaired vision.
Ocular albinism affects only eyes in the form of no coloring in the retina. Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome is a rare form of albinism where in addition to absence of pigmentation, the patient also suffers from lung, bowel and bleeding disorders.
Oculocutaneous albinism affecting the color of skin, hair and eyes is a result of defective genes passed from both parents. This type of albinism may also be caused due to deregulation of a copper containing enzyme called tyrosinase which is responsible for the production of melanin.
Ocular Albinism is caused by a gene mutation on the X chromosome and is more frequent in males. There are also some rare forms of albinism that are usually inherited from only one parent. Genetic mutations are also believed to be another cause for abnormality in melanin production.
Source : Wikipedia
The presence of albinism and its type and nature can be determined through genetic testing. This test procedure on albinism involves detecting defective genes that are related to this condition. In case of vision conditions that are related to albinism, electroretinogram can be helpful. This test is designed to measure the response of light sensitive cells in the eyes.
Unfortunately, there is no cure and prevention for albinism. However, using some medical interventions and precautions, relief from certain symptoms is possible. The following section lists such interventions and precautions:
Although prevention of albinism is not possible, these precautions can ensure relief from several symptoms. However, what is actually required to help people suffering from albinism to lead a happy life is social acceptance.