Ocular Albinism in Charlotte and Wilmington, NC
Ocular albinism primarily affects an individual’s eyes. This genetic disorder reduces the pigmentation (coloring) of the iris. In addition, this disorder affects the retina which is the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. The lack of pigmentation negatively affects an individual’s vision.
The Most Common Form of This Genetic Disorder
Affecting at least 1 in 60,000 males, ocular albinism Nettleship-Falls type or simply type 1is the most common form of this disorder. The typical signs and symptoms associated with ocular albinism type 1 are not seen as often in the female population.
There are other forms of ocular albinism. These other forms of the disorder can include symptoms such as hearing loss and a lack of melanin resulting in extremely light-colored skin, and hair, however, the other forms of this disorder are much rarer than type 1.
Recognizing Ocular Albinism Type 1
Nettleship-Falls type 1 is characterized by severely impaired visual acuity (i.e., sharpness of vision). In addition, these individuals may have problems with depth perception (i.e., stereoscopic vision).
The vision the individual loses due to this disorder is permanent; however, ocular albinism type 1 will not progress. Even so, there are other abnormalities associated with this genetic disorder.
These abnormalities include:
- Strabismus — the eyes look in different directions.
- Photophobia — an increase in sensitivity to light.
- Nystagmus — rapid eye movements (involuntary).
Many people with ocular albinism type 1 also have abnormalities affecting the nerves that carry the visual information the eye collects to the brain (i.e., optic nerves).
The Nettleship-Falls type 1 form of ocular albinism does not affect the color of an individual’s skin or hair. Nevertheless, some people with ocular albinism type 1 do have complexions that are slightly lighter than their biological family members are.
If you or your child is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with ocular albinism type 1, please contact North Carolina eye doctor, Dr. Edward Paul, OD, PhD. Dr. Paul has offices in Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina.