Objectives: To examine the prevalence of radiation-associated lens opacities among interventional cardiologists and nurses and correlate with occupational radiation exposure.
Background: Interventional cardiology personnel are exposed to relatively high levels of X-rays and based on recent findings of radiation-associated lens opacities in other cohorts, they may be at risk for cataract without use of ocular radiation protection.
Methods: Eyes of interventional cardiologists, nurses, and age- and sex-matched unexposed controls were screened by dilated slit lamp examination and posterior lens changes graded using a modified Merriam-Focht technique. Individual cumulative lens X-ray exposure was calculated from responses to a questionnaire and personal interview.
Results: The prevalence of radiation-associated posterior lens opacities was 52% (29/56, 95% CI: 35-73) for interventional cardiologists, 45% (5/11, 95% CI: 15-100) for nurses, and 9% (2/22, 95% CI: 1-33) for controls. Relative risks of lens opacity was 5.7 (95% CI: 1.5-22) for interventional cardiologists and 5.0 (95% CI: 1.2-21) for nurses. Estimated cumulative ocular doses ranged from 0.01 to 43 Gy with mean and median values of 3.4 and 1.0 Gy, respectively. A strong dose-response relationship was found between occupational exposure and the prevalence of radiation-associated posterior lens changes.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a dose dependent increased risk of posterior lens opacities for interventional cardiologists and nurses when radiation protection tools are not used. While study of a larger cohort is needed to confirm these findings, the results suggest ocular radio-protection should be utilized.
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.