Albinism is a congenital (existing at or before birth) disorder caused by reduced or the complete absence of melanin: the pigment responsible for giving color to our skin, eyes, and hair. Albinism is sometimes known as hypopigmentation. Albinism is considered as a rare condition. It is estimated that only one from 17,000 experiences albinism. A person with albinism gets the albino gene from both parents. There are some things we need to know about albinism to correct certain misconceptions we have about it, they include;
-People with albinism can live long, healthy lives just as anyone else. The biggest danger comes from skin cancer which develops more easily from unprotected sun exposure.
-The physical appearance of the people with albinism is totally different with normal people. They usually have blue or grey eyes. In rare cases, their eyes are pink or red.
-The people who live with albinism should concern more with the health of their eyes. Most people with albinism have a low vision. They need to use contact or glass to correct the low vision.
-People with albinism synthesize vitamin D five times faster than dark-skinned people. Since vitamin D is produced when ultraviolet-B light enters the skin, the lack of pigmentation means the light can enter more easily.
-One in 17,000 people has some form of albinism gene. Though it affects the sexes equally, males are more likely to have ocular albinism: a lack of pigment in the eyes.
-People with albinism face persecution and bullying all over the world. Some of this comes from beliefs that they are cursed or that their body parts have magical powers when used by witch doctors.
-Albinism can occur in any vertebrate in the animal world as well.
-To be born with albinism, a baby must have defective genes from both its parents. If the baby inherits one normal and one albinism gene, enough melanin will be produced by the normal gene.
-Related to albinism is a skin condition called vitiligo where only some parts of the skin lose their pigment.
-Scientists can test if a parent has an albino gene by testing if a hair follicle produces melanin.
-Currently, there is no treatment which can cause the body to produce melanin and lessen the symptoms of albinism.
To sum it up, albinism is genetic and thus is not contagious. And it doesn’t make anyone less of a person. It’s as genetic as having brown hair or blond hair, and we don’t think less of people with brown or blond hair, so why should anyone think differently about a person with albinism?