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What is it? 

A genetic condition that affects the body’s ability to produce melanin. Albinism comes in two forms: oculocutaneous and ocular. Oculocutaneous albinism affects both skin and eyes, giving people fair skin, white or red hair and pale eyes. Ocular albinism affects the eyes only. Both forms of albinism can cause low vision.

Simulation of how Albinism affects vision in high glare situations
Simulation of how Albinism affects vision in high glare situations

  • Blurred vision.  
  • Involuntary movement of the eyes (nystagmus). 
  • A loss of clarity in your central vision due to an abnormality in the retina.  
  • An increase in sensitivity to bright light (glare).  
  • Glasses for short or long-sightedness as appropriate. 
  • Misalignment of the eyes, resulting in low vision or double vision (strabismus). 

Albinism is an inherited condition so it is likely you’ll be aware of it from an early age. See an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you or your child experiences any vision issues. 

There is no treatment for albinism, but there are ways you can manage the level of vision you have. Minimising glare, using correct lighting and glasses that are right for you can help.

How it can affect your life

Albinism can cause trouble with general mobility and performing daily activities.

You may find near vision activities like reading difficult, as well as distance vision activities like watching television challenging.

You may find it more difficult to see in bright light and circumstances where there is significant glare.

Download a guide

Albinism guide

Fact sheet summary to print or download.