The Case for Radioprotective Eyewear/Facewear: Practical Implications and Suggestions


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Abstract

Numerous eyeglass lens materials have been recommended for protection of radiologists’ eyes from the cataractogenic effect of radiation during fluoroscopic procedures. For the most part, these lenses coincidentally attenuate x-ray beams because they contain elements of high atomic number that are added to increase refractive index. With a beam hardened to simulate scatter, direct transmission ratios were measured for 32 commercially available lens materials. Scatter to the eye, both through and around the glass lenses and secondary scatter to the eye from the radiologist's head, was determined with lenses mounted on a head phantom and a 1-cm3 ion chamber in the position of the eye. Transmission ratios for the various lenses ranged from 3% to 98% for an 80 kVp x-ray beam (HVL=4.5 mm Al). Measurements with the head phantom in place show that secondarily scattered radiation from the fluoroscopist's head contributes significantly to ocular exposure. Optimal radiation protection of the eyes during fluoroscopy depends not only on eyeglasses with leaded glass, but also on shielding of sufficient size and shape to reduce exposure to the surrounding head.

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