Oct
2
2009

Who Discovered Albinism

Albinism causes the skin to lack or lose color. Melanin gives shade to the skin, and when it is not enough or missing, you have albinism. You can have albinism even in the hair and eyes.

Animals and plants can have albinism, too. Albinism in plants goes pretty much like albinism in humans. Albino plants lack chlorophyll (that substance that gives them a green color). Without chlorophyll, plants cannot make food with a little help from the sun. So they end up having short lives. It is not known whether albino humans lead longer lives than normal ones.

Early studies on albinism

The oldest existing records of albinism are found in Germany and Rome. Plinius Secundus the Elder and Aulus Gellius are widely recognized as the first observers of   albinism. But the first to consider albinism as a sickness was Archibald Garrod. He studied albinism in 1908. Garrod observed that people with albinism had excessively fair skin and hair.

At times albinism causes the hair to turn deep yellow or red. An albino’s eyes can be blue, brown, or reddish. They cannot stare directly at the sky. Sometimes it could get worse that that. So it is usual to see albinos wearing dark glasses.

Albinism Who Discovered Albinism

 

How do you acquire albinism

Albinos get  the disease from their parents’ genes. An albino’s  genes lack the usual amount of melanin. It is said that in the United States alone, 1 person in 17, 000 has albinism to a lesser or greater degree. Albinism is not exclusive to the white race. There are black, Asian, Indian, and Polynesian albinos. In most cases,  albinos have normal parents.

Types of albinism

Not all albinos have extremely white skin. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is the most common. It covers the hair, skin, and eyes. Ocular albinism (OA) is limited to the eyes with a person’s skin and hair appearing slightly fairer than average.   OCA comes in different shades: It may have the obvious signs or may only show thin pigmentation.  A person with slight OCA has milk-colored hair and skin with a vision of 20/200. In some cases the hair appears yellowish or reddish, and the person’s vision is a little better.  In the past, these two types were called “complete” and “incomplete” albinism.

Archibald Garrod Who Discovered Albinism

Albinism and vision problems

An albino’s eyes cannot be corrected by wearing glasses. The albino’s low vision depends on how serious his albinism is. In many cases, some albinos are technically blind. Not that they cannot ever see. They just do not have a normal vision range. Albinos can read and drive a car. What is not in place is their retina and nerves that connect the eyes to the brain.  An albino’s optical nerves have irregular patterns. That is why they cannot stand staring at bright lights.  Albinos are well advised to regularly see their eye doctors.

Albinism and skin problems

As said earlier, not all albinos have excessively white skin or hair. But those who have OCA obviously show signs of skin rashes and dryness. Full blown albinos cannot stand the sun for long. But if they have to, they need to bring an umbrella or put on sunscreen lotion to protect their skin.



About the Author:

Sam Reese is a web enthusiasts and blogger. He is a history student and loves to write and read histories of different things.

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