Postoperative cataract cases among atomic bomb survivors: radiation dose response and threshold

Radiat Res. 2007 Oct;168(4):404-8. doi: 10.1667/RR0928.1.


Recent evidence argues against a high threshold dose for vision-impairing radiation-induced cataractogenesis. We conducted logistic regression analysis to estimate the dose response and used a likelihood profile procedure to determine the best-fitting threshold model among 3761 A-bomb survivors who underwent medical examinations during 2000-2002 for whom radiation dose estimates were available, including 479 postoperative cataract cases. The analyses indicated a statistically significant dose-response increase in the prevalence of postoperative cataracts [odds ratio (OR), 1.39; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.24-1.55] at 1 Gy, with no indication of upward curvature in the dose response. The dose response was suggestive when the restricted dose range of 0 to 1 Gy was examined. A nonsignificant dose threshold of 0.1 Gy (95% CI, <0-0.8) was found. The prevalence of postoperative cataracts in A-bomb survivors increased significantly with A-bomb radiation dose. The estimate (0.1 Gy) and upper bound (0.8 Gy) of the dose threshold for operative cataract prevalence was much lower than the threshold of 2-5 Gy usually assumed by the radiation protection community and was statistically compatible with no threshold at all.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Warfare*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survivors*