Albinism comes from ‘albus’, the Latin word meaning white, and refers to a group of hereditary disorders wherein the biosynthesis of the pigment melanin is absent or reduced. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is a heterogeneous and autosomal recessive disorder that involves a lack of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes, and is associated with ocular and visual defects such as photophobia, strabismus, nystagmus and low vision.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross sectional descriptive community based study conducted at a tertiary care medical college hospital. The Department of Ophthalmology enrolled 39 subjects satisfying the inclusion criteria. The diagnostic criteria for OCA patients included in the study, were those having ocular features of iris transillumination and retinal hypopigmentation in addition to depigmentation of the skin, hair and nails.
Results: 39 patients with OCA were included, mean age 20 years. The largest proportion of participants (40%) included those between 16 and 25yrs. Using World Health Organization classification based on best corrected distance visual acuity, 8%, 70%, 15% and 7% of 78 eyes had normal vision, moderate VI, severe VI and blindness respectively.
Conclusion: There is high prevalence of refractive, non-refractive and mixed ophthalmic disorders among albinos. There was significant improvement in visual acuity and function following optical correction and alignment in people with albinism, despite overall subnormal acuity. Refractive correction should be encouraged for people with albinism.