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John Amato | all galleries >> Pohnpei, Micronesia -FSM- 2010, 2011 >> Restoring near vision and protecting eyes with sunglasses. > Achromatopsia, a rare genetic eye disease. IMG_7660.jpg
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Achromatopsia, a rare genetic eye disease. IMG_7660.jpg

Achromatopsia, a rare genetic eye disease. IMG_7660.jpg

Achromatopsia occurs at an alarming rate to the people of Pingelap Atoll. From birth there is normally no color vision with accompanying intolerance to daylight or any bright light. We were able to help some here with their near vision.

A genetic eye disorder, Achromatopsia, for the Pingelap people places many of them at risk of a rare disorder that cause extreme intolerance to bright light and the inability to see colors. This can be noted by the number of women in the images and the child, that squint or close their eyes. What they do gain from this is the ability to see well at night. It was noted by people in the village that do not have the genetic disorder that at night, while they might need a flashlight, the people with this disorder, could see fine and walked as if it was daylight. At night they can also open there eyes with no discomfort. The word in Pingelapese for this disorder is "maskun" (not see). Approximately 5 percent of the population of Pingelap have Achromatopsia due to a typhoon that left only 20 surviving individuals. As the population grew from these remaining people, achromatopsia increased due to one individual that carried a mutated gene for this disorder.

Four of the women here suffer from Achromatopsia and although I asked them to please not strain to keep their eyes open, they wanted to for the photo.

On questioning I did find out that a few of the Pingelap women could see some color at times.

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