There is currently no cure for ocular albinism. However, people can manage their condition with low vision aids and protective eyewear. In some cases, doctors may perform eye surgery.

Albinism is an inherited condition where the body produces little to no melanin. This is the pigment that gives color to hair or skin. There are two types: ocular albinism, which mainly affects the eyes, and oculocutaneous albinism, which affects the skin, hair, and eyes.

While there is no cure for ocular albinism, treatments aim to optimize vision and manage associated symptoms.

This article provides an overview of the different treatments for ocular albinism, new treatments available, what makes the condition worse, and support for people with the condition.

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People with ocular albinism experience mild to moderate central vision loss, so they may benefit from using low vision glasses. These glasses help individuals see objects or another person from a distance.

Most people with albinism develop refractive errors such as hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism. Doctors correct these with glasses or contact lenses to help optimize visual acuity.

Other low vision aids include handheld magnifiers and glasses with small telescopes, which may improve the ability to see.

Additional low vision aids used for treating ocular albinism may include:

  • large-print or high contrast books and printed materials
  • large computer screens
  • software that can turn speech into typing
  • tablets and phones with magnified screens

Absorptive sunglasses or contact lenses with color may help reduce light sensitivity that occurs with ocular albinism.

People may benefit from dark glasses or transition lenses to reduce glare. Using a hat with a brim and sun protection for the face can also help protect against glare.

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is another symptom that occurs with albinism. In some cases, extraocular muscle surgery may help treat strabismus or other issues associated with ocular albinism.

Surgical interventions can involve dividing and reattaching some of the eye muscles to help improve eye alignment and restore vision.

A 2021 review states that some of the newer treatments for albinism may include drugs such as l-dihydroxyphenylalanine and nitisinone.

Researchers from 2020 suggested that administering nitisinone to mice or humans with certain forms of albinism had led to increased circulating tyrosine levels, an action that can cause increased pigmentation. However, a small 2019 study found the drug may not increase pigmentation in the eye itself.

Further studies in humans are necessary to determine the effects of these newer drugs, as they may be a promising treatment for ocular albinism.

Local support groups are available for adults and children with albinism. These groups may help people:

  • feel better connected
  • learn positive attitudes and ways to manage low vision
  • gather valuable information

Organizations that offer support and information for albinism include:

Parents and caregivers can consult a developmental pediatrician to ensure a child with albinism has adequate support from their school, State, and educational agencies in the United States (U.S.). Some points to consider include:

  • Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans, which relate to how the school will support a child with ocular albinism
  • Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) enrollment, which is a public agency that provides services and support to those who qualify
  • additional support, for example, families with limited income and resources may be eligible to receive supplemental security income

There are certain measures schools can take to help manage a child’s condition, such as:

  • having a certified teacher in special education for children with visual impairments can help facilitate their participation in classroom activities
  • letting children sit in the front row to aid their vision when looking at the board, or teachers can also provide information from the board in other ways
  • seating a child away from glare from windows or lights
  • teachers may consider providing information in alternative formats as children may have difficulty reading from projector screens because of glare
  • using larger print textbooks, enlarged handouts, or different contrasts on the paper
  • modifying physical activities

While there is no cure for ocular albinism, treatments can help manage associated symptoms and improve vision.

Low vision aids such as glasses or lenses may assist with seeing objects up close or at a distance. Other aids include protective eyewear and tinted glasses.

Doctors may also offer corrective surgery in some cases for ocular albinism. More research into other treatments is necessary.

Teachers may also make accommodations to provide support to children with ocular albinism. This may include sitting children in the front row of class and avoiding seats with glare from windows. They may also provide enlarged fonts in textbooks and alternative means of presenting information to a child.