Albinism can cause a wide range of eye problems. Because not all people with albinism have a noticeable lack of pigment in their skin or hair, eye problems may be the first sign of albinism.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Nystagmus (involuntary, rapid eye movement);
- Strabismus (misalignment of the eyes);
- Sensitivity to bright light (called photophobia);
- Refractive errors, including far-sightedness (hyperopia), near-sightedness (myopia) and astigmatism;
- Monocular vision (relying on vision in one eye only);
- Foveal hypoplasia, a condition in which the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) does not develop normally before birth and during infancy;
- An optic nerve problem, where nerve signals sent from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain do not follow the usual nerve routes; and
- An iris problem, where the colored area in the center of the eye does not have enough pigment to screen out stray light coming into the eye (called iris transillumination).
People with albinism can have vision that ranges from normal to severe vision impairment. Near vision is often better than distance vision. Generally, those who have the least amount of pigment have the poorest vision.
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