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Symptoms and Conditions of Albinism 2

Page history last edited by Leigh Anderson 14 years, 1 month ago

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Symptoms and Conditions


Eye Problems


People who suffer from albinism generally have abnormal eye development. Due to the lack of pigment, it is difficult for the iris to filter light, letting too much pass through. Another common ailment for sufferers of albinism is a lack of depth perception. This disability is due to affected communication between the retina and the brain.


These defects result in visual impairments such as sensitivity to sunlight, astigmatism, far-sightedness, near-sightedness, or even blindness. Nystagmus, the constant, involuntary shifting of the eyes from side to side, is another eye problem albinos frequently experience. Strabismus is also widespread among albinos, creating a wandering eye or crossed eyes, affecting depth perception.[1]



Sight signals cross when optic nerves cross[2]


Skin Conditions


A person with albinism has no pigment whatsoever, they do not produce any melanin. They cannot tan, and therefore are very sensitive to the sun. They require considerable sun protection, and are more likely to develop skin cancer. Some albinistic people have blotches of pigmentation, or “freckles,” but they too require extensive sun protection and do not tan.



Albinism occurs when melanocytes cannot make enough melanin to color hair, skin and eyes. Melanin provides essential protection from ultraviolet rays.[3]




Another symptom resulting from no pigmentation is completely white or yellow hair. In some cases, an albinistic person will develop only a forelock; or a portion of white hair near the forehead.[4]



Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome


Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, or HPS, is a rare form of albinism, generally seen in albinos of the Puerto Rican community. HPS causes scarring of the lungs, or fibrosis, creating breathing difficulty and fatigue and leading to lung disease.

HPS interferes with platelet formation, making it difficult for cuts and wounds to heal. Many albinos bruise easily, have frequent nosebleeds, and or experience gum bleeding while brushing their teeth. HPS in women causes excessive bleeding during labor and monthly menstrual cycles.

Another known consequence of HPS is granulomatous colitis, creating abdominal pain, intestinal bleeding, and diarrhea. In extreme cases, kidney disease develops.[5]


Created By: Alex Gregory and Leigh Anderson 



  1. "How Albinism Works." How Stuff Works. 30 Oct 2008. Discovery, Web. 29 Oct 2009. .
  2. "How Albinism Works." How Stuff Works. 30 Oct 2008. Discovery, Web. 29 Oct 2009. .
  3. "How Albinism Works." How Stuff Works. 30 Oct 2008. Discovery, Web. 29 Oct 2009. .
  4. "How Albinism Works." How Stuff Works. 30 Oct 2008. Discovery, Web. 29 Oct 2009. .
  5. "Albinism." Science Resource Center. 29 Oct 2009. Gale, Web. 29 Oct 2009. .

Comments (1)

rryoung@... said

at 8:48 am on Oct 29, 2009

Symptoms is an easy page to have pictures - perhaps instead of linking so many times, you could do actual pictures instead??

Also, good organization - its really easy to see differing headings, etc.

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