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Source: Thailand Medical News  Dec 29, 2019  3 years ago
Radiation Technologists And Radiologists Have Higher Risk Of Cataract Due To Occupational Radiation Exposure
Radiation Technologists And Radiologists Have Higher Risk Of Cataract Due To Occupational Radiation Exposure
Source: Thailand Medical News  Dec 29, 2019  3 years ago
According to a new study in a large prospective cohort of US radiation technologists, higher cumulative occupational exposure to low-dose radiation is associated with excess additive risk (EAR) of developing cataract.

Dr. Mark P. Little of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland told Thailand Medical News, "Our findings, if confirmed, have important implications for clinical screening and public health along with consideration of radiation protection and regulatory measures, particularly for physicians performing fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures who have been shown to potentially receive eye-lens doses well over 100 mGy."

Dr. Little and his team note in Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journal that high doses of radiation (1 Gy or more) can cause cataracts, and growing evidence suggests that cumulative lower doses (100-250 mGy) may induce cataracts as well.

So far, studies of radiation exposure and cataract have measured excess relative risk (ERR), the proportional increase in risk of exposed vs. unexposed individuals. The authors used excess additive risk (EAR), which they say can more effectively gauge the public-health impact of radiation exposure "by providing an estimate of the number of cases that could potentially be prevented by reducing this exposure."

The medical researchers looked at a cohort of more than 63,352 radiation technologists with more than 832,000 person-years of follow up, including 11,345 with self-reported cataract. Radiation exposure was strongly associated with cataract, but not with cataract surgery.

The cataract risk associated with radiation increased with age and was especially high among people 75 and older. Having diabetes was associated with a nearly 20-fold increase in radiogenic EAR.

Dr. Little added, "Our study suggests that about five excess cases of cataract would be expected among 1,000 persons receiving 50 mGy (close to the mean level of exposure of 56 mGy in this cohort) and followed over 10 years (close to the mean 13.1-year follow-up). This suggests that special protective measures may be warranted for persons with diabetes who undergo radiation exposure."

He concluded, "Future studies should assess EAR of cataracts along with ERRs in other radiation-exposed occupational groups with clinically ascertained diagnosis of cataract by cataract type, medical record validation of cataract severity/opa city, well-validated dosimetry and high-quality data on relevant life-style, environmental and medical risk factors, to ascertain if our findings are confirmed that cataract is inducible by low doses of radiation (at <100mGy).”
Reference: Occupational radiation exposure and excess additive risk of cataract incidence in a cohort of US radiologic technologists, Mark P Little, Elizabeth K Cahoon, Cari M Kitahara, Steven L Simon, Nobuyuki Hamada, Martha S Linet, Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2020;77:1-8. ,


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