What is Albinism?

Albinism is a condition wherein the skin, eyes, and hair of a person is afflicted by a partial or complete loss of pigmentation. This disorder of melanin production in the skin is inherited and affects people from all races. A person with albinism is often referred to as a an ‘albino’ and while some forms of the condition can be life threatening, most people with albinism can live a normal life. Apart from humans, animals, fish, and birds can also be affected by this condition.

There are different types of albinism:

Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is the most common form of the condition and affects the hair and skin of a person. OCA can be further categorized into Type 1 albinism and Type 2 albinism depending on the type of genetic defect causing the condition.

The second type of albinism (Type 2) a more severe form of albinism and it affects not only the hair and skin but also a person’s eyes. The iris of the person turns white or pink in such cases. Defects of vision such as short sightedness and myopia also tend to develop.

Other types of albinism include Ocular Albinism type 1, Waardenberg syndrome, Chediak-Higashi syndrome, Tuberous sclerosis and Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome or HPS.

Alternative Names: Oculocutaneous albinism; Ocular albinism; Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, hypopigmentation.