The Lagos State chapter of Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) on Thursday advised, people suffering albinism to always use “low vision’’ glasses to protect their eyes whenever they were under the sun.
The state Chairman of the association, Dr John Samssedi, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Low vision glasses or tinted eyeglasses provide some relief to the eyes of an albino when he or she is exposed to sunlight.
The optometrist spoke against the background of the International Albinism Awareness Day marked annually on June 13.
The day considers persons with albinism as a specific group with particular needs that require special attention.
The theme for 2019, which was chosen to recognise, celebrate and encourage strength in persons with albinism, is: “Still Standing Strong”.
Samssedi said: “People with albinism cannot run away from sunlight because we are in the tropic and they are going to be exposed to the sun.
“Albinism and sunlight do not go together; their peculiarities have to do with the fact that they lack melanin pigment in their formation of the thyroxin gene.
“Melanin is what gives coverage to the skin and to the back of the eye in the layer called the Uveal tract, when this misses; the person begins to have a lot of light problem.
“So albinos suffer a lot of light related issues where many fall into a class we call “low vision patients’’ because of lack of melanin, especially in the fovea centralis.
“Centralis is the part responsible for the clearest part of visual activity.
“That is why we always advise that they wear low vision glasses that can help them whenever they are under the sun,’’ he said.
The optometrist also urged the people concern to always take good care of themselves so that in order not look older than their age mate.
Asides the fact that albinos suffer ocular problems, the optometrist said they also had skin problems due to continuous exposure to sun.
He stressed that continuous exposure to sunlight could cause them lots of melanoma and skin cancer, thereby causing them to have wrinkled skin.
Samssedi urged them to use sunscreen to protect their skin from damaging and use umbrella when in the sun, to avoid freckles around their skin, chin, jaw and eyebrow area.
He also urged them to always be in touch with a dermatologist for proper advice on how to manage their skin conditions.
The optometrist said albinism patients were of two types– the Ocular albinism and Oculocutaneous albinism.
The medical practitioner said the major difference between the two was that one was more susceptible to light exposure than the other.
He, however, said albino patients who suffered cataract and glaucoma a were treated the same way as the normal people, adding that that the only difference was that albino patients had lots of light sensitivity and low vision.