Individuals with albinism prefer spectacles with color and neutral filters with low light transmission, according to findings published in the Journal of Optometry. Study participants used many spectacles, and their preferences reflected various environmental needs.
Researchers assessed photosensitivity prevalence and severity in 81 individuals with ocular or oculocutaneous albinism (median age, 31; 43 men). Participants underwent visual acuity and contrast sensitivity testing, as well as fundus hypopigmentation and iris translucency evaluation. Patients subjectively reported photosensitivity complaints based on 3 grades ranging from “no problems” to “severe or worst imaginable problems.” All study participants were free to choose from spectacles, contact lenses, or magnifiers as part of the rehabilitation, with all aides free of charge.
In total, 77.8% of the study cohort reported photosensitivity created “some or moderate problems” or “worst imaginable problems.” Photosensitivity severity was associated with fundus hypopigmentation (P =.04), but it did not correlate with contrast vision (P =.14). Poor visual acuity predicted photosensitivity despite contrast vision and photosensitivity being unrelated.
Overall, investigators dispensed 74 pairs of spectacles. All study participants chose outdoor spectacles with a filter and approximately three quarters of patients requested a filter for indoor spectacle use. Patients with albinism preferred low transmission spectacles with neutral filters such as brown or gray, or a combination of gray, brown, and another color.
The study authors suggest that filters can decrease the amount of light that reaches the retina or restrict swathes of the visible spectrum and be of benefit to people with albinism.
“Most patients with albinism have low vision and may require special optical solutions for reading and other near work—thus it was rarely possible to find one set of spectacles that fulfilled every need,” the report states.
Study limitations include a single center design and the use of subjective responses to determine photosensitivity.
Hansen TB, Torner-Jordana J, Kessel L. Photosensitivity and filter efficacy in albinism. J Optom. Published online August 23, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.optom.2022.07.002