Are There Any Home Remedies For Ocular Albinism?

Ocular albinism is a genetic disorder that affects the pigmentation of the eyes. It causes poor eyesight. Ocular albinism does not harm the pigmentation of the skin or hair.(1)

Are There Any Home Remedies For Ocular Albinism?

It is a complex genetic disorder and no specific home remedies are there to cure the disease. However, common healthy behavior for your eyes will also help you have better vision and keep your eyes healthy.

Some of the good habits to reduce eye strain and maintain eye health are as follows:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Go for regular eye exams
  • Have a balanced healthy diet that is rich in vitamin A and antioxidants
  • Have enough sleep
  • Reduce screen time
  • Use eye protection while in the sunlight
  • Wear goggles when doing anything that may cause eye injury.(4)(5)

Patients with albinism should see the ophthalmologist at least once a year to have their eyes examined. Consult your ophthalmologist about visual acuity.(1)

Ocular albinism patients may need assistive devices for better vision. Ask your ophthalmologist for a referral to a low vision assessment. This type of service can introduce you to devices that help you see as well as possible.

There are two types of albinism:

  1. When the skin, hair, and eyes are affected, it is called oculocutaneous albinism.
  2. When the eyes are affected, but the coloring of the skin and hair is normal, it is called ocular albinism.

Both types of albinism will cause poor vision in the affected individual and the severity will vary from one to another. Ocular albinism does not usually cause other medical problems or health consequences.

It is important to understand that patients with ocular albinism can see. Most patients with albinism are not completely blind, although many are legally blind.

Ocular albinism affects the retina and the optic nerves. The retina covers the inner wall of the eye. It acts like a screen on which images are projected. When the eyes are affected by albinism, the retina cannot produce clear images and the nerves do not transmit a clear image to the brain.

The sharpness or clarity of what people see is called visual acuity. People with ocular albinism have poor visual acuity. This means that what they see may be blurry or confusing.

Who Is Affected By Ocular Albinism?

Ocular albinism is a disorder related to the X chromosome, which means that it affects primarily the men. Women can be carriers of ocular albinism. The eyes of people with ocular albinism may look different from others and work differently.

Eye Coloring: People with ocular albinism often have pale blue eyes because they have very few pigments in the iris. Most people with albinism do not have red or pink eyes.

Trans-illumination Of The Iris: When an ophthalmologist directs bright light into an eye not affected by albinism, the light is reflected outside the eye through the pupil. This is the effect that causes “red eyes” in the photographs. In the case of people affected by ocular albinism, light passes through both the iris and the pupil. This is the trans-illumination of the iris. Most likely, only the ophthalmologist will be able to tell you if you are having iris trans-illumination.

Chiasmatic Routing Error: In healthy eyes, the optic nerve connects each eye to the center of the brain. It is here that the pathways of each eye meet in a structure called the optic chiasma. In chiasma, about half of the nerve fibers go to the opposite side of the brain from where they started. The other half are on the same side of the brain relative to where they started. The crossing of nerves helps us to see adequately and transmit images from the eye to the brain.

In the case of a person affected by ocular albinism, the nerves divide unevenly. For example, instead of half going to either side of the brain, 30% could go to one side and 70% to the other. This is a chiasmatic routing error.

Most people with ocular albinism have a chiasmatic routing error. It is uncommon to find it in people who do not have a form of albinism. To determine if one has a chiasmatic routing error, the ophthalmologist will perform an examination called “visual evoked potentials”.

Nystagmus: Nystagmus causes a “tremor” or rapid movement of the eyes. The eyes can move left to right, up and down or in a circle. Most people with ocular albinism have a form of nystagmus. The tremor is usually seen in children with the disease and it decreases with age and will usually have stabilized when the child reaches the age of 7 years.

People sometimes think that because of nystagmus, children perceive a “moving world”. It is a myth.

Light Sensitivity: Most people with ocular albinism are sensitive to bright light. This can be uncomfortable but is not usually painful. The patient may wear sunglasses or a visor helmet, both indoors and outdoors, to protect the eyes from bright light.(2)(3)

References:

  1. Kubasch A, Meurer M. Oculocutaneous and ocular albinism. Der Hautarzt; Zeitschrift fur Dermatologie, Venerologie, und verwandte Gebiete. 2017;68(11):867-875.
  2. Sun L, Wang Z, Wu H, et al. Role of ocular albinism type 1 (OA1) GPCR in Asian gypsy moth development and transcriptional expression of heat-shock protein genes. Pesticide biochemistry and physiology. 2016;126:35-41.
  3. Manga P, Orlow SJ. Informed reasoning: repositioning of nitisinone to treat oculocutaneous albinism. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2011;121(10):3828-3831.
    Thapar P. Health Nutrients for Healthy Eyes. 2015.
  4. Windell J. The Eyes Have It. Community Practitioner. 2018;91(2):24-26.

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