25 Facts About Albinism We Might Want To Be Aware Of

Posted by , Updated on June 13, 2016


People with albinism are some of the least-well understood on the planet. Plenty of myths abound about them, including that they are sterile, a curse, and even that their body parts can be used as magical talismans. (Some uninformed people even believe that a child with albinism born to a black mother and father is the ghost of a former European colonist.) We’re happy to report that none of these are true. Those with the albino disorder are virtually identical to people without it. The main difference obviously results in the lack of pigmentation, though some side symptoms include vision problems and higher susceptibility to the sun – both of which can be treated.

Though people with albinism are often teased or ridiculed, we’re here to try and change that. In this list, we dig into the scientific facts about albinism, including: Is it contagious? Do people with albinism die younger? and, what causes albinism? As a genetic condition, albinism is equivalent to having blond hair rather than brown hair. Despite the destigmatization of people with albinism which has started taking root, plenty of doubt and confusion exists around this disorder. Let’s clear that up in this list of 25 facts about Albinism we might want to be aware of.

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Featured image by David Bokuchava / Shutterstock.com


The cause of albinism is cellular. Malfunctioning genes don't produce melanin and cannot be made to.

Autosomal_recessive_-_miniSource: NHS, Image: Wikipedia

Though the disorder is found in about 1 in 20,000 people in the United States, its prevalence is higher for other parts of the world where it can be as high as 1 in every 3,000 people in some parts of Africa.

Albino_woman_in_canoe,_BeninSource: National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation, Image: Wikipedia

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.

vitamin d why you needSource: Encyclopedia, Image: Our Sacred Seeds via YouTube

Though albinism does not require treatment, the skin and eye conditions which accompany it often do need specialized treatment.

Man_taking_eyedropsSource: NHS, Image: Wikipedia

Many different types of albinism exist. Oculocutaneous albinism is the most common and most severe, with a person's hair and skin remaining a pale white color throughout their lives.

Ministry_of_Hope_Nursery,_Lilongwe_-_MalawiSource: Encyclopedia, Image: Wikipedia

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