It is a very common misunderstanding that people with albinism have pink or red eyes. In fact their irises vary in colour from light gray to the most common blue and in some cases even brown. The pink and red colour occurs when light is reflected off the back of the eye similar to the way a camera flashes and produce red eyes.
If albinism is genetic will all my children have albinism?
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. Parents that are carrying the gene have a one in four chance that their child will have Albinism. Read more about the genetics of albinism here.
Is there a cure for albinism?
Currently, there is no treatment which can cause the body to produce melanin and lessen the symptoms of albinism.
People with albinism have fair hair and skin, does albinism affect anything else?
Most people know of albinism for the lack of pigment in the skin and hair but infact the biggest challenge for people with albinism is the variety of of eye problems, including one or more of the following:
- They may be very far-sighted or near-sighted and may have other defects in the curvature of the lens of the eye (astigmatism) that cause images to appear unfocused.
- They may have a constant, involuntary movement of the eyeball called nystagmus.
- They may have problems in coordinating the eyes in fixing and tracking objects (strabismus), which may lead to an appearance of having “crossed eyes” at times.
- They may have reduced depth perception due to altered nerve connections from the retina to the brain.
- Their eyes may be very sensitive to light (photophobia) because their irises allow stray light to enter their eyes.
There are many different types of albinism, some of which are reduced melanin rather than lack of including Ocular Albinism. Ocular Albinism affects the eyes only and therefore people with these conditions have normal pigmented hair and skin, not the stereotypical white hair and skin. Read more about types of albinism here.
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.