Occupational exposure to ionizing radiation and lens opacity in interventional cardiologists
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Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Radiological Protection)
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Environmental Epidemiology)
Online publication date: 2019-10-04
Corresponding author
Joanna Domienik-Andrzejewska   

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Department of Radiological Protection, św. Teresy 8, Łódź 91-348, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2019;32(5):663-75
Objectives: Interventional cardiologists (ICs) are occupationally exposed to low or moderate doses of ionizing radiation from repeated exposures. It is not clear whether these occupational conditions may affect their eye lens. Therefore, the risk of radiation-induced cataract in the cohort of Polish interventional cardiologists is analyzed in this paper. Material and Methods: The study group consisted of 69 interventional cardiologists and 78 control individuals occupationally unexposed to ionizing radiation. The eye lens opacities were examined using a slit camera and evaluated with Lens Opacities Grading System III. Cumulative eye lens doses were estimated retrospectively using a questionnaire including data on occupational history. Results: The average cumulative dose to the left and right eye lens of the ICs was 224 mSv and 85 mSv, respectively. Nuclear opalescence and nuclear color opacities in the most exposed left eye were found in 38% of the ICS for both types, and in 47% and 42% of the controls, respectively. Cortical opacities were found in 25% of the ICS and 29% of the controls. Posterior subcapsular opacities were rare: about 7% in the ICs group and 6% in the control group. Overall, there was some, but statistically insignificant, increase in the risk for opacity in the ICs group, relative to the control group, after adjusting for the subjects’ age, gender, smoking status and medical exposure (adjusted OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 0.62–3.59 for the pooled “any-eye any-type” opacity). There was also no evidence for an increased opacity risk with an increase in the dose. Conclusions: The study found no statistically significant evidence against the hypothesis that the risk of cataract in the group of the ICs occupationally exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation is the same as in the control group. Nevertheless, the adverse effect of ionizing radiation still cannot be excluded due to a relatively small study sample size. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2019;32(5):663–75
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