Image for Albinism
Albinism

Related Terms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Background

  • Albinism refers to a group of inherited conditions marked by decreased or absent pigmentation (coloring) of the skin, hair, and eyes. In some cases, albinism includes other eye problems, such as decreased vision, sensitivity to light, involuntary eye movements, problems with the iris (the colored part of the eye), and decreased pigment in the retina (the cells at the back of the eye that detect light).
  • Albinism is an inherited condition, meaning that it is passed from parents to children. Individuals receive two copies of most genes, one from the mother and one from the father. Albinism is caused by mutations in genes that provide instructions for making melanin, the pigment that provides color to hair, skin, and eyes. Melanin also absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun to protect the skin. Because melanin is absent or decreased, people with albinism are at increased risk of skin damage caused by the sun.
  • Because different mutations affect the production of melanin in slightly different ways, the type of albinism is determined by the specific genetic mutation that is present. The different types of albinism include oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) types 1, 2, 3, and 4; ocular albinism (OA); Chediak-Higashi syndrome (CHS); Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS); and Griscelli syndrome (GS).
  • The worldwide prevalence of OCA type 1 is about one in 40,000. The worldwide prevalence of OCA type 2 is about one in 15,000. The worldwide prevalence of OCA type 3 is unknown. OCA type 4 is extremely rare, except in Japan, where it accounts for about 24% of cases of OCA. The worldwide prevalence of OA is about one in 50,000. CHS and GS are extremely rare, with unknown prevalence. HPS is rare, except in Puerto Rico, where its prevalence is about one in 1,800.
  • Further content available for subscribers only.

Risk Factors

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Causes

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Types of the Disease

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Diagnosis

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Complications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Treatment

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Integrative Therapies

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Prevention

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.