This study was designed to examine ocular effects associated with exposure to millimeter waves (60 GHz). Rabbits served as the primary experimental subjects. To confirm the results of the rabbit experiments in a higher species, the second phase of the study used nonhuman primates (Macaca mulatta). First, this study used time-resolved infrared radiometry to assess the field distribution patterns produced by different antennas operating at 60 GHz. These results allowed us to select an antenna that produced a uniform energy distribution and the best distance at which to expose our experimental subjects. The study then examined ocular changes after exposure at an incident power density of 10 mW/cm(2). Acute exposure of both rabbits and nonhuman primates consisted of a single 8 h exposure, and the repeated exposure protocol consisted of five separate 4 h exposures on consecutive days. One eye in each animal was exposed and the contralateral eye served as the sham-exposed control. After postexposure diagnostic examinations, animals were euthanized and the eyes were removed. Ocular tissue was examined by both light and transmission electron microscopy. Neither microscopic examinations nor the diagnostic procedures performed on the eyes of acute and repeatedly exposed rabbits found any ocular changes that could be attributed to millimeter-wave exposure at 10 mW/cm(2). Examination of the primates after comparable exposures also failed to detect any ocular changes due to exposure. On the basis of our results, we conclude that single or repeated exposure to 60 GHz CW radiation at 10 mW/cm(2) does not result in any detectable ocular damage.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.