Many years after the release of radiation disaster at Chernobyl, Russia, cataract have appeared as one of the health issues changing the lives of those people who were exposed to radiation when the reactor exploded. This has been reported by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR.
Researchers publishing in the journal Radiation looked at the eyes of 8,607 Chernobyl clean-up workers 12 and 14 years after they were exposed. Only 3.9% had nuclear cataracts, but 25% had posterior subcapsular or cortical cataracts from radiation exposure. Finding the prevalence of this other type of cataract leads scientists to believe that the exposure limits set for clean up workers by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) were in fact too high. An article at EyeWorld.com states, “Thus, conventional wisdom regarding acceptable doses of radiation to the eye for space activities are actually not acceptable, according to this study.”
Hopefully, the world will never see another Chernobyl, but this information is important for people who are exposed to radiation in other ways. Bone marrow transplant patients, for example, are treated with a course of radiation and often develop cataracts many years later.
Sources: Radiation, Eye World
Astronauts, Space Radiation & Cataracts
Cross-sectional data analysis revealed a small deleterious effect of space radiation for cortical cataracts and possibly for PSC cataracts. These results suggest increased cataract risks at smaller radiation doses than have been reported previously.
SOURCE: Chylack LT Jr, Peterson LE, Feiveson AH, et al. NASA study of cataract in astronauts (NASCA). Report 1: Cross-sectional study of the relationship of exposure to space radiation and risk of lens opacity. Radiat Res 2009;172(1):10-20.
For more information, go to Natural Eye Care for Cataract Treatment and Prevention.