How Radiation Exposure Affects the Eyes

Most people know protecting their eyes is critical for their vision and health. Many people are exposed to dangers on the job. Occupational exposure to radiation is one of the leading dangers to eye health.

Why Should You Protect Your Eyes Against Radiation Exposure?

Many people do not realize radiation builds up cumulatively. Although radiation affects every part of the body, it most negatively affects the eyes. Doctors, nurses, and imaging technicians must learn about the dangers of radiation exposure and how they can protect their eyes.

What Does Radiation Do to the Eyes?

 Most people will not feel any pain when their eyes are first exposed to radiation. Within one to three hours, the pain can begin. The dull pain felt by someone exposed to radiation leads to varying levels of discomfort, depending on the degree of exposure.

Excessive exposure to radiation will lead to swelling of the eyes and first-degree burns. Even mild exposure can lead to problems with dry eye and discomfort. People sometimes feel as if they have something lodged in their eyes.  You should have your eyes checked by best eye doctor San Jose as a precaution

Posterior Subscapular Cataracts

One of the greatest dangers of radiation exposure to the eye is posterior subscapular cataracts. This type of cataract is much different than the kind most people know about.

Posterior subscapular cataracts form in the back of the membrane of the eye. Unfortunately, this eye condition can begin to degrade a person’s vision quickly. These cataracts will cause the following symptoms.

  • Blurred vision
  • Reduction in contrast vision
  • Problems with seeing up close
  • Diplopia or polyopia
  • Glare and halos when exposed to headlights or other bright lights

Most people will need surgery to correct posterior subscapular cataracts. The eye damage progresses faster than with other types of cataracts. Most people begin to experience symptoms within a few weeks of development.

The Best Treatment Is Prevention

 One of the best treatments for posterior subscapular cataracts is to prevent them from happening. Prevention is possible with the right eye protection.

It is important to remember that even minor exposure can temporarily harm the eyes. With ongoing exposure, permanent damage can occur. In severe cases, radiation exposure can lead to retina and optic nerve damage which can result in blindness.

Lead Glasses Protect the Eyes Against Radiation Damage

One of the most important things people can do to protect their eyes when working around radiation is to wear lead glasses. Many hospitals and doctor’s offices are now requiring their medical staff to wear lead glasses.

Lead glasses help shield the eyes from all types of radiation, reducing exposure down to 2 to 3%. When purchasing these glasses, you must choose a pair with glass lenses instead of plastic.

Plastic is permeable and can allow radiation through the lens. Glass is impermeable and will help offer a higher level of protection. Glass lenses offer up to 10 times the radiation protection of plastic lenses.

It is important to note that lead glasses come in a wide array of styles, colors, and designs. These glasses can even be molded to fit a specific face, which is important for those who need to wear them all day on the job. With a custom fit will come a greater level of comfort.

Protect Your Eyes Against Radiation Exposure

If you work around equipment that exposes you to radiation, you must protect your eyes now. Wearing lead glasses is a critical way to protect your eyes against radiation-induced injuries and damage.

If you have been exposed to radiation without eye protection, schedule an eye exam promptly. A thorough eye exam will determine if any damage has been done.

You may not experience symptoms right away with radiation exposure. Do not wait until symptoms arise. Call today to schedule an appointment for a full exam to ensure your eyes are not damaged.


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