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Must Know Facts About Albinism

Compiled by Dr. Enozia Vakil, B.A.M , Rishika Gupta | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Jan 10, 2018


Albinism (Hypopigmentation/Albinos) is a genetic disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment called melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes. It is also known as hypo-pigmentation or ocular albinism.

People who are affected by albinism are called albinos. Lack of skin pigmentation makes albinos more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancers.


Albinism Facts

  1. It is a very rare disorder, and thereby it is estimated that only 1 in 20,000 people are born with albinism every year.
  2. People suffering from albinism also tend to have a number of eye problems including impaired vision (even after wearing glasses), photophobia (sensitivity to light) and may even demonstrate involuntary movements of the eye.
  3. There are four different types of albinism, but a particular form known as ocular albinism type 1 has been estimated to affect at least 1 in 60,000 males, as it is found to be inherited in an X-linked pattern.
  1. Oculo albinism type 1 and type 2 are a more common form of albinism whereas type 3 (rufous oculocutaneous albinism) and type 4 are more common in southern African, Japanese and Korean populations.
  2. Genetic mutations are believed to be the main cause of albinism.
  3. The diagnosis of this condition isnít difficult Ė the paleness makes it pretty obvious when the child is born.
  4. Infants suffering from albinism may initially appear slower than other infants due to visual problems, but they later develop the ability to cope.
  5. Individuals suffering from albinism tend to have extremely sensitive skin, which is why they are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer.
  6. The severity of albinism differs from individual to individual and even among siblings.
  7. Albinism is an untreatable condition, since the cause of this disease is present at the genetic level. However, eye and skin problems arising as a result of albinism can be treated with the correct approach.
  1. Contrary to popular belief, albinism doesnít affect an individualís social development.
  2. Albinism is a health condition that doesnít get worse or aggravated over the time and doesnít exhibit any changes to the life expectancy of an individual.
  3. People suffering from albinism need take extra care of their skin. Applying sunscreens and moisturizers regularly is necessary, to ensure that their skin remains healthy and protected.
  4. Albinism is not contagious. It cannot be transferred from person to person through blood transfusion, dermal contact, or via vector (pathogen carrying organism as mosquito carries malaria).
  5. Not only human beings; plants and animals also suffer from albinism.


  1. Albinism / Hypopigmentation / Albinos - (https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/albinism.htm)
  2. Oculocutaneous albinism - (https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/oculocutaneous-albinism#sourcesforpage)
  3. Ocular albinism - (https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/ocular-albinism#)

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