What Is an Albino?

A person whose body cannot produce pigment, or coloring matter, in its organs is called an albino. Albinism is most easily recognized in the skin, hair, and eyes. True albinos have very pale white skin, white hair, and pink eyes. An albino’s eyes show up as pink because the tiny red blood vessels in the iris, or colored part of the eye, show through. In normal people, the colored iris hides this pinkness.

Albinism is usually inherited from one’s parents, but it can also be caused by a change in the genes, the tiny chemical particles that carry traits from parents to children.
Albinism can occur in animals too. White mice and white rabbits with pink eyes are true albinos. White gorillas and some white horses are albinos too.

The San Blas Indians, who live on islands off the coast of Panama in Central America, have the highest proportion of albino births in the world, 7 out of every 1,000 births. This has created the myth of a tribe of “White Indians”!