What is someone with albinism ?
People with albinism cannot produce pigment. Because they have no pigmentation they have very light blond hair, very light blue eyes that look red in bright light and a very light skin that never tans.
Healthy people produce pigment under the influence of the UV light from the sun. Under the influence of this UV light you skin becomes browner.. As well as a nice tan pigment normally gives colour to the hair and eyes. Pigment also provides protection against damaging effect in UV light. So the UV-light from the sun damages the retinas and skin of people with albinism. Without the protection of sun lotion they can develop skin cancer at a young age.
In the Netherlands and other western countries we have only a few people with albinism, (about 1 in 17.000 people is albino), but in Africa albinism occurs much more. Among black Africans a certain form of albinism (Oculo-cutaneous Albinism type 2) occurs frequently. The percentage of black Africans that is a carrier of this form of albinism is between 2,9% (1 op 35) 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and 4,5%
(1 op 22). Of the African population south of the Sahara an estimated 1 in 2000 to 1 in 5000 people has albinism. For unknown reasons there are more people with albinism in certain African countries than in others. In particular Malawi, Mali and Senegal have many of them.
Extensive information about the different forms, genes and other problems concerning albinism.