Ever wondered what gave your skin and your hair their colour? A pigment named melanin. Its primary function is to act as a sunscreen and protect the skin from the harmful UV radiation. In some individuals, this important melanin is either absent or scarce, giving rise to a genetic condition known as albinism. On June 13 every year, the world observes Albinism Awareness Day to focus attention on this problem and bring to light the challenge faced by people with this condition. Here are 9 facts about albinism that you need to know!
If both the parents carry the albinism gene, there is one in four chances that a child with albinism will be born to them.
Albinism is a rare condition. It is estimated that one in 17000 people may have albinism. In India, there are 1,00,000 people currently with albinism.
Albinism is caused when the human body fails to convert food into melanin and it is a genetic condition. People in India commonly think that it is caused when fish and milk are eaten together. That, however, is a big misconception
Nystagmus, a condition associated with albinism causes the eyes to move in a rapid left to right manner which affects the vision. The lack of melanin causes the sunlight to hit the eyes and cause blurry images.
More than 10 different types of albinism can be seen depending on partial or complete loss of the pigment melanin.
Albinism is a condition seen not just in humans, but also in animals and plants.
Airawat, the five-headed white elephant of Lord Indra was the first reference of albinism in ancient Indian texts.
In Kenya and Tanzania, people with albinism are targeted and mutilated for their body parts. It is believed that their blood, skin and hair can cure HIV.
Loneliness is seen common among people with albinism. Mostly because they are treated poorly by the society who are ignorant about what albinism really is. But people with albinism have went on to do very well in life. Some well-known people include Gaurav Jain who was a finalist in Indian Idol and Prashant Naik who was honoured by a National award in 2013 by the President of India as the Role Model of the year for his contributions to the field of banking.