Today, June 13, is International Cancer Awareness Day. Albinism, a genetic condition that affects pigment production in hair, skin, and eyes. On this day, the achievements of people with this condition are celebrated for overcoming obstacles and facing the circumstances that arise due to their physical limitations.
Most people only know that the albino is a very white person, with a different appearance than normal, however, they ignore that they have low vision and a total lack of skin protection against the sun, which generates a high possibility of skin cancer. These factors do not prevent them from developing successfully in society when they have the necessary support from their environment.
The albinism and protection
people with albinism They must constantly protect themselves from the sun, since it is their main enemy, especially in a Caribbean country such as the Dominican Republic, where the sun is hot at any time of the year.
Albino people are influenced by three important areas to achieve quality of life: ophthalmology, dermatology and psychology. Due to the low vision generated by the lack of pigment in the eye, the risk that the lack of protection from the sun on the skin implies, and the emotional well-being that can be affected by having a physical appearance that is different from normal.
The particular view of albinos
Judith Portorreal, ophthalmologist, specialist in keratoconus and contact lenses, explains that albino patients usually have multiple complications at the ocular level, due to not having the pigment of the iris, which is what regulates the amount of light that enters the eye.
“These are patients who are going to have a lot of photophobia and a lot of discomfort with light, both sunlight and artificial light. But also, at the level of the retina, these patients have an abnormal development of it, since one of the layers of the retina is the pigment epithelium and as they do not have pigments they develop foveal hypoplasia, which is why they tend to have low vision”Ophthalmologist
In addition, this usually causes nystagmus or involuntary eye movements and they have a higher frequency of refractive errors, such as high myopia and hyperopia and astigmatism.
In our country there is Proyecto Luz, an organization that raises awareness about albinism and supports people with this condition to feel an active part in society, generate a sense of belonging and a high level of love and self-worth.
In addition, Proyecto Luz educates society about this genetic condition, explaining its particular characteristics, its causes and its limitations with the intention that this topic be treated with the greatest possible empathy.
On the occasion of the celebration of this date, a central theme is chosen annually. In 2022, the motto is: United to make our voices heard, which seeks to empower people with albinism to ensure their equality and increase their visibility in all areas of life.
Text: Jennifer Tejeda