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Meet Ava: Albinism Awareness

You’ve probably heard the term ‘Albino’, but you may not be familiar with the condition behind it!

An albino is, simply, a person with a condition known as albinism. It’s incredibly interesting, and we’re going to take a look at the ins & outs of what it means to be an albino. We’ll also be meeting a very special little girl called Ava!

What is Albinism?

Albinism is a genetic condition affecting the production of melanin. Melanin gives us our pigment; some races have more melanin so are darker, and other races have less so are fairer. Albinism means that the body doesn’t product much, or any. It can affect skin colour, hair colour, and eye sight. People with Albinism most commonly have;

  • Light blonde or white hair.
  • Some forms may have light brown or ginger hair if they have slightly more melanin.
  • Very fair skin that burns very easily.
  • In some rarer cases, an albino may have pink/red irises due to lack of pigment.
  • More commonly, light blue, grey or brown eyes depending on ethnic background.

What are the symptoms of Albinism?

Albinism isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ condition as it affects all races. The most common symptoms of albinism are;

  • Poor eyesight, as melanin is important for the development of the retina.
  • Astigmatism, causing an abnormally shaped lense and blurriness.
  • Photophobia, an extreme sensitivity to light.
  • Nystagmus, causing involuntary eye movements.
  • Squint, causing eyes to face in different directions.
  • Lack of colour in skin, hair and eyes, especially when compared to family members. This can vary depending on how little melanin an individual makes.
  • Sensitive fair skin that burns easily.

Read more on albinism on the NHS site here.

It’s important to remember that despite these symptoms, people with albinism can live perfectly happy, normal lives!

Meet Ava, our community member Shannon’s beautiful little girl! You can follow her here.

Here’s one of our favourite photographs of Ava. Shannon has shared pictures of her with our community group, and the most common comment by far was ‘she has beautiful eyes!’ – we wholeheartedly agree, she’s an incredibly special and beautiful baby girl who lets nothing hold her back in life!

If you have a child with albinism and you’d love to share your story, email us at [email protected]!

Love from Team BBY! Xx

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