Albinism is a genetic disorder characterized by the absence of pigment in the skin. Not only does it alter one’s physical appearance, it also impairs various bodily functions, such as their sense of sight. People with albinism are also more susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer. It affects thousands of people in the United States, and unfortunately, Redditor AlbinoAlex is one of them.
Despite his condition, Alex shows a very positive and very enviable outlook in life. Last Saturday, Alex was kind enough to share his experiences with albinism on Reddit’s Q and A subreddit AMA. Here are some of the most interesting exchanges in the thread.
Redditor fauxchicken asked, “How badly is your vision affected, i.e. light sensitivity, night vision, etc?”
Alex answered, “The main problems are reduced visual acuity (20/200) and nystagmus. A lot of people with albinism are fairly light sensitive but thankfully I’m not. The problems are caused by a wide variety of abnormalities in the eye, from a underdeveloped fovea to misrouting of the optic nerves.”
Redditor nonabean asked, “Are you considering having biological children? I am an albino myself and am starting to plan a family but don’t want to pass my albinism on.”
Alex offered the following answer.
“Though I’m not dating at the moment, I would love to have children someday, either biological or adopted.
I’ve dated both normal girls and girls with albinism and the children discussion always varied, and was tougher with those who had albinism. It’s this awkward seesaw because on one hand: Why would you want to have a child with albinism and have them suffer through the bullying and shitty vision and everything you had to go through? But on the other hand, if they have to go through that: Who better to have as parents than people who understandwhat the child is going through.
If you’re concerned, DNA testing is available and fairly inexpensive compared to how much it was years ago. The odds of your partner carrying an albinism gene are rare, and even if your partner has albinism the odds of them having the same type are also rare. I know of couples with albinism whom have children with albinism because they have the same type, and some where they don’t.”
Random_nickname asked, “Do you have any issues finding dates or have people been intimidated/offended by any offers? I’ve never seen an albino person where I live and can imagine some negative reactions in my region.”
Alex replied, “Because physical appearance plays a major role in whether or not we find someone attractive and therefore a candidate for dating—dating has been fairly difficult. Every once in a while you find someone who cares more about personality than looks, but it’s rare.”
Read the rest of Alex’s AMA here.
[Image from Community Eye Health/Flickr]