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Who Discovered Albinism?

Generally considered as a hypopigmentary congenital disorder, albinism is also called by other terms like achromatosis, achromasia or achromia. More than anything else, this condition is known for the insufficient melanin pigment that usually affects various body parts, specifically the hair, skin and eyes. Besides human beings, it also affects various kinds of animals including reptiles, birds and fishes. In order to learn more about this interesting medical condition, it is good to know other basic facts about it including who discovered albinism.

The Discovery of Albinism

Who discovered albinism? Despite the claims of earlier historians that Aulus Gellius and Plinius Secundus the Elder were the first individuals to have observed such condition, its discovery as a disease was credited to Archibald Garrod. He discovered the disease some time in 1908. He observed patients, particularly those with symptoms like hypersensitivity to light, eye misalignment as well as abnormal decussation.

Additional Facts and Other Interesting Information

In humans, two types of albinism are possible, namely ocular albinism and oculocutaneous albinism. In the first one, the eyes are the only parts affected by insufficient melanin. In the other type, the hair, skin and the eyes are all affected. Patients of albinism exhibit common eye conditions such as amblyopia, optic nerve hypoplasia and foveal hypoplasia. In addition, they can also show signs like photophobia, refractive errors as well as nystagmus.

There is no definite cure for this medical condition. However, certain procedures are available that can somehow improve the quality of life of patients. By undergoing these procedures, they can enjoy many benefits including prevention of skin damage, eye protection and improved vision. To help alleviate the condition of patients, they can undergo surgery, which can somehow decrease the effects of strabismus and nystagmus. For those who are suffering from esotropia, surgery can help widen the visual field.

Although there is no way to treat the various eye conditions that albinism patients experience, certain ways are possible to help improve their overall condition. Closed captioning, large-print materials and the use of glasses can actually help. Aside from eye protection, patients need to protect their skin from the sun. By doing this, they can lessen the chances of acquiring skin cancer. Likewise, this can also help them delay the effects of skin aging. To do this, they can apply sunscreen on their skin right before sun exposure. To protect their eyes from the sun, it is nice to give them wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. For those who have cars, it is best to put heavy tint on the windows.

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