What are the Symptoms of Albinism?

Symptoms of albinism can be varied. Albinism people usualy have problems with their sight, and the spectrum of the contitions presented below are called ocular albinism or oculo-cutaneous albinism.

Nerves or moles are benign formations that appear on the skin’s surface, which are redish or pigmented.

Solar keratosis is like a localised thickening of the corneum level (the surface layer of the epidermis). Solar keratosis is a precancerous skin lesion that appears on skin which was exposed to sun, especially in the face, hands, forearms and neck area.

Lentigo spots correspond to skin that occur in regions exposed to soare.Lentigo means an increase in the number of melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation. They form brown, round patches, a few millimeters in diameter.

Photophobia is a condition manifested by sensitivity to light. Decreased visual acuity that can go up to blindness. Astigmatism is the corneal curvature abnormality. An eye with astigmatism has an oval cornea, unlike the normal eye whose cornea is round. Strabismus is a visual condition in which the eyes are not able to focus the same image simultaneously.

Strabismus occurs when eye axes are not parallel to each other so that the eyes (one or both) are diverted either to the nose (convergent strabismus) or to the ear (divergent strabismus). Sometimes strabismus is called “cross-eyes” condition. Nystagmus is characterized by involuntary movements of the eyes, of small amplitude, mostly horizontal, but sometimes vertical or circular. Monocular vision occurs when the visual fields of each eye do not overlap.

Albinism is usually diagnosed during a physical exam, based on the appearance of hair, skin and eyes. In patients with ocular albinism, an ophthalmologist may be necessary for diagnosis. Eye checks are important to check for eye disorders associated with albinism. Electroretinography is often recommended for patients with eye disease diagnosis.

Electroretinography is an eye exam which is designed to record electrical activity in the retina after stimulation. Genetic testing can be used to determine the specific type of albinism present in one patient. Genetic testing examines a DNA sample to observe the abnormal gene, or may analyze the number, arrangement of the chromozomes.This is usualy done by blood testing.

There is no cure for albinism. Sight problems can be treated with corrective lenses. Eyeglasses are usually required; they can be dark in color to reduce solar light. Surgery may also be recommended to improve eye sight or appearance.

Eyes and skin of people with albinism must be protected from sun. You should avoid the sun as much as possible. When albinsim person is exposed to sunlight, it is recommended to use sunglasses that enable UV protection, and body lotions with the highest available sun protection factor (SPF) to protect skin. It is also recommended that clothing completely covers the skin.

Hair

Hair color can range from very white to dark brown. People with albinism in Africa or Asia, may have blonde, red or brown hair. Hair color can be starting to change adulthood.

Eye color

Eye color can vary from very light blue to brown and may change with age.

Due to lack of pigment in the iris, the eyes become translucent.

Vision

Signs and symptoms of albinism manifesting in the eye function include:

– Rapid and involuntary eye movements (nystagmus);

– Inability to fix both eyes look the same point or to move at the same time (strabismus);

– Myopia or hyperopia advanced;

– Sensitivity to light (photophobia);

– Astigmatism.

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