Albinism is a recessive trait. In order to have a child with albinism, both parents must possess the defective OCA gene.
Albinism is more common than many people think. About one in 17,000 people in the U.S. are affected by the disorder. It affects people of all races and most children born with the disorder have parents and siblings with normal eye and hair color.
Although not all people with albinism have red eyes, they all have vision problems. Many people with this disorder are legally blind and the vision problems they experience cannot be treated with corrective lenses. These particular eye problems lead many doctors to the diagnosis of albinism. Sometimes, surgery can be effective in treating eye problems due to albinism.
When people think of this disorder, they often picture someone with very pale skin and white hair. However, not everyone with albinism exhibits these signs. Some forms of the disorder affect the eyes, skin and hair. When albinism affects only the eyes, it is called ocular albinism and is very rare.
A person with albinism must be very careful to avoid sunlight and must always shield his eyes from sunlight. Most live generally long, productive lives and have the same medical problems as those not suffering from the disorder.