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December 1962

Characteristics and Low-Vision Corrections in Albinism: A Report of 161 Patients

Author Affiliations

Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;68(6):754-761. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960030758010

Albinism is a congenital hereditary anomaly caused by a biochemical lesion in pigment metabolism. The biochemical anomaly consists in the failure of the melanocyte to synthesize normal amounts of tyrosinase.1 Albinism is classified as:

  1. Complete generalized: complete absence of pigment in eyes, hair, and skin

  2. Incomplete generalized: incomplete absence of pigment in eyes, hair, and skin

  3. Ocular: incomplete absence of pigment in eyes only

  4. Partial2: congenital circumscribed hypopigmented areas in skin and hair, eyes not affected

  5. Vitiligo2: variable discrete depigmented areas with hyperpigmented borders which begin at any age; eyes not affected

Introduction  Figure 1 shows the translucent irises of a dark-haired boy with ocular albinism. Transillumination of the sclera will frequently suggest a diagnosis of ocular albinism or incomplete generalized albinism of a patient who has amblyopia and nystagmus and often a tropia as well as a high refractive error.The incidence of albinism in the United