Last updated on July 7th, 2020.
Have you ever wondered why leaded glasses are important for people who work with equipment that emit radiation like x-ray and CT scan machines? With the wide variety of ultra-light lenses and newly-designed frames, protective lead eyewear is used by most medical professionals. Such eyewear is also increasingly used for interventional radiology, urological procedures, orthopedic surgery, and pain management.
Radiation and the Eyes
Relatively high radiation doses can damage the iris, conjunctiva, sclera, and the retina’s blood vessels. Even with low dose radiation, however, the lens of the eyes can sustain permanent damage. It is important to remember that it is the lens which serves as the eye’s focusing part and is where cataracts develop.
The lens’s sensitivity to radiation is due to normal cell replacement failure. The damage to cells brought on by low-dose radiation consists of abnormal cell production (leading to mutated cells) and cell death. The eye’s normal metabolism cannot get rid of the mutated cells damaged by radiation. This leads to the crystalline lens’s premature clouding, which causes reduced vision that can only be corrected when the cataract has matured and can be removed.
The risk of developing cataracts is high when your eyes are exposed to radiation. Thus, wearing leaded eyewear is important to maintain eye health especially when you are around medical imaging systems.
Why Put On Protective Eyewear?
There are other reasons to wear leaded goggles aside from cataract prevention. Medical professionals wear protective eyewear to reduce the risk of workplace electromagnetic radiation. Doctors, medical technologists, and nurses who work with radiation need such protection as studies strongly point to low-exposure radiation’s potential to cause damage to the eyes.
Aside from cataracts, radiation exposure can damage tear ducts and result in dry eyes and make the eyes more susceptible to infection. Vision loss, retinal damage, tumor growth, and glaucoma can also be traced to radiation exposure in the eye.
Lead goggles in the past were bulky and were inconvenient to wear. Medical professionals who were already wearing prescription lenses were urged to use protective eyewear over their prescription lenses.
Nowadays, you have access to various choices and you can find stylish, well-fitting, and lightweight options. If you are wearing prescription glasses, you can have your radiation glasses specifically made with your prescription so you don’t have to wear two pairs of glasses when you are handling imaging equipment.
When you are looking for radiation glasses, there are a few things to consider.
- Think first of the provided level of protection. Leaded glasses are meant to deflect radiation so they do not reach your eyes. The front lenses must be .75 mmPb minimum. Peripheral or side protection should also be important and side lenses must be at least .5 mmPb.
- The eyewear’s comfort must also be taken into consideration. The glasses must be well-fitting. It should be in place and not slide down to your nose when you look down. As you choose the best pair, check for under-eye or nose pressure. If you feel noticeable pressure, the eyewear may be too heavy for extended use.
- The eyewear’s construction is also important. Pick out adjustable frames as the fit – after several uses – may change. The lenses and frames should also be sufficiently durable to withstand unintentional floor drops. The lenses must also be resistant to scratches. Choose eyewear that has cleaning instructions and a warranty that covers defects and damage.
Various Styles of Protective Eyewear
Recent radiation eyewear designs make use of wrap-around tech to make sure the eyes are not damaged by harmful radiation. Medical professionals don’t have to look utilitarian to get sufficient protection. Designs come in various styles and colors and may be selected to complement the scrubs or the wearer’s face.
Some of radiation eyewear’s popular features include foam-surround and anti-fog. As your body temperature rises, eyewear may fog. There is special technology to counter such occurrence. Medical professionals also look for scratch resistance. Moreover, users also seek affordable and lightweight options.
When it comes to radiation protection, the first thing you should consider is protecting your eye’s retina. Exposure to radiation builds up in your body. A lot of the effects can go unnoticed for a few weeks, months, or years. Thus, you should take no chances when it comes to your eyes.
While leaded eyewear is more expensive than the average eyewear, its price is commensurate to the protection the radiation eyewear gives you. Even a few hundred dollars for a pair of radiation eyewear is considerably lesser than the medical expenses incurred in removing or treating eye disorders like cataracts.
When buying radiation eyewear, choose a pair that has met safety standards. You can buy such eyewear online and you can get your pair in about a few weeks.
Don’t take any chances. If you continually work around radiation equipment, invest in a good pair of lead eyewear to protect your eyes from permanent damage.