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Eye Protection: What You Need to Know About Preventing Cataracts

Radiation: What's the Risk?

In study after study, when people are asked to rate the five senses in terms of importance, vision is almost always ranked as the most valued. Our sight is precious. That’s why we recently developed and unveiled Bar-Ray’s Protective Eyewear Catalog for Radiation, Laser, and Safety Protection.

How does scatter radiation pose a serious health risk to our eyes? Studies show that the primary health risk is cataracts. According to the Mayo Clinic, “a cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window.”

Studies show that cataract caused by ionizing radiation is different than cataract developing due to age or other conditions such as diabetes. They are primarily different due to their location within the eye and by opacities. Additionally, radiation-induced eye lens injuries such as cataracts can develop over many years or even decades. Surgery is the only way to treat cataracts.


Guidelines for Radiation Protection 

The International Commission on Radiological Protection’s (ICRP) recommendation is a limit of 20 mSv for the lens of the eye within a year, averaged over periods of five years, with no single year exceeding 50 mSv. 

This recommendation was made in 2017, and it was quite a change from the previous thinking—an annual dose limit of 150 mSv.

“For ophthalmologists, this stricter standard suggests that a new level of vigilance should be employed for certain patients, notably medical colleagues whose work involves radiation,” said the panel’s co-chair, Lawrence T. Dauer, PhD, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Such colleagues would include interventional cardiologists and radiologists, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


Who’s Most at Risk?

  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Interventional radiologists
  • Doctors using fluoroscopy in operating theatres 
  • Paramedical personnel close to patients during procedures

That’s according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), due to these medical professionals’ possible exposure to a high-scatter X radiation field.


How to Reduce Your Risk 

The top two recommended protections are lead glass screens and eyewear. In fact, according to the IAEA, “use of leaded glasses alone reduced the lens dose rate by a factor of 5 to 10.”


Protecting Your Vision: Bar-Ray’s Radiation Protection for Eyes 

Not only does Bar-Ray offer a wide range of protective eyewear, from brand names such as Nike to fashion-forward frames in cheetah patterns, but our eyewear can be customized with prescription lenses and outfitted with side shields to reduce additional potential exposure.

See Bar-Ray’s Protective Eyewear Catalog for additional protective gear including:

  • Face shields
  • Laser safety glasses
  • Safety glasses

Your eyes are critical to the work you do, as well as your life and well-being. Protect them with comfortable, durable Bar-Ray eyewear protection.