Yesterday I went to the zoo and you're not going to find out what I saw... A white tiger! According to the guide who accompanied us on the walk, this carnivorous stoner is albino. Surprised, I wanted to know more about this genetic disorder (which humans can also suffer from), so pay attention to everything I have discovered about albinism...
What is albinism?
Albinism is a genetic condition that affects the production of melanin . in the organism . Therefore, this gene mutation can cause the complete (or partial) absence of melanin in the skin , which is why albino people are characterized by having white hair and skin with very little pigmentation .
Characteristics of albinism
However, melanin not only determines the color of the skin , but the lack of it usually brings with it some eye problems in people who suffer from it, since it is essential for the proper development of the eyes . In this way, albinism usually causes vision problems (as well as nearsightedness, farsightedness, photophobia, blurred vision, strabismus, optic nerve deviation or even blindness -both partial and complete- ).
In addition, albino people are much more sensitive to UV rays , so if they are exposed to the sun too much, they may develop freckles , moles , solar lentigines (spots similar to freckles but larger) or sunburn that can reach lead to skin cancer . However, due to a lack of melanin , they are incapable of tanning .
Types of albinism:
Depending on the type of mutation that the person has, they may have one type of albinism or another, since they are classified according to how they have been inherited and the gene that is affected .
- Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA): This type of disorder is the most common and is caused by the inheritance of two copies of a mutated gene ; that is, one from each parent. It usually develops depigmentation of the skin and hair and vision problems .
- Ocular albinism: this type of albinism is developed by a mutation on the X chromosome on the mother's side and generally men tend to suffer from it . It causes vision problems.
- Albinism related to rare syndromes of genetic predisposition: there are some syndromes, such as Hermansky-Pudlak or Chediak-Higashi , that can cause albinism of some type (especially oculocutaneous).
Treatment for albinism:
To detect albinism , a physical exam must be done to test the pigmentation of both the person's skin and hair , as well as an eye exam .
However, albinism is a disorder that, to this day, has no cure . Therefore, it is important that all the recommendations given by the doctor are carried out to care for both the skin and the eyes.
Among the most common recommendations are the use of lenses to help with vision problems and the performance of an annual skin exam to prevent possible skin cancer . In addition, it is essential to use daily sun protection and avoid sun exposure.
After discovering everything about albinism ... Keep in mind that, whether you suffer from it or not, sun protection should always be your best ally! (And more now that the good weather is starting...)