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Albinism is a group of inherited disorders that results in little or no production of the pigment melanin, which determines the color of the skin, hair and eyes. Melanin also plays a role in the development of certain optical nerves, so all forms of albinism cause problems with the development and function of the eyes. Other symptoms can include light skin or changes in skin color; very white to brown hair; very light blue to brown eye color that may appear red in some light and may change with age; sensitivity to sun exposure; and increased risk of developing skin cancer. Albinism is caused by mutations in one of several genes, and most types are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Although there's no cure, people with the disorder can take steps to improve vision and avoid too much sun exposure.
- Albinism. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/albinism/DS00941. Accessed April 8, 2011.
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- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition. Click on the link to view the information.
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