Eye lens is more vulnerable to radiation

Mumbai: The professionals who are constantly
exposed to radiation, especially `interventional`
cardiologists, must take utmost care to protect their eyes as
new studies have shown that lens of the human eye is more
radiation sensitive, than thought before.

Till now, the lens of the eye was considered to be a
moderately radiation sensitive tissue. But several new
scientific studies show that it is among the most sensitive
tissues, said K S Parthasarathy, Raja Ramanna Fellow of the
Department of Atomic Energy and former Secretary of Atomic
Energy Regulatory Board.

Recently, the International Commission on Radiological
Protection (ICRP) reduced the safe dose limit for the lens of
the eye to 20mSv (millisievert) a year, averaged over five
years, with no single year exceeding 50 mSv, Parthasarathy
told PTI today.

"The earlier dose limit was 150mSv a year," he said.

The interventional radiology and cardiology professionals
have the greatest potential to receive large radiation doses
to their eye lens, if precautions (such as wearing leaded
glass goggles) are not taken. "Several studies have shown that
these professionals do suffer from cataracts," he said.

Also, these professionals have little training in
radiological protection, and seldom use protective

Normally, eye lens is crystal-clear. If it receives high
enough radiation doses, it may become partly cloudy or
totally opaque. Radiation protection agencies have prescribed
dose limits to the lens to prevent lens opacity or cataract,
he added.

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