CLASS IV – ATROPHIES [Class IV- Atrophies]
(Albinism; Congenital leukoderma; Congenital leukasmus; Congenital leukopathia)
Definition. – a congenital absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes, either partial or complete.
Symptoms. – A child born with complete absence of normal pigmentation is known as an albino and although he may be normal physically and mentally, often grows up undeveloped in these particulars. The hair is usually fine, soft and silky, white or yellowish-white in color, and the absence of coloring matter in the iris and choroid gives a pinkish or pale-blue hue to the former and an orange- red color to the fundus. In order to protect the abnormally exposed retina from an excess of light the iris, eyeball and lids are kept in a constant state of alternating motion even when subjected to ordinary rays. Partial albinism is more common than the complete variety and is more often seen in negroes (pied or piebald negroes). This absence of pigment may occur in isolated, regular or irregular, rounded patches of pinkish-white or white color, sharply or ill- defined by borders of normal or slightly pigmented skin. Hairs growing upon such a patch are also white. While this congenital defect is rarely seen in the white race, the opposite condition or hypertrophy of pigment, the flat pigmentary mole, is common and like albinism is persistent throughout life.
Etiology and Pathology. – The former is unknown although heredity may be a factor. The skin is normal except that there is no pigment in the rete mucosum.
Treatment may be summarized as useless.