Last updated on June 19th, 2020.
Fluoroscopy is a common x-ray diagnostic technique that generates a movie via x-ray. The movie created through fluoroscopy gives doctors and surgeons a greater visual picture of the internal structures of the patient, allowing them to see the actual functioning of their internal organs.
Fluoroscopy has technically existed since the 1890’s, just after the x-ray was discovered. Early fluoroscopes were very simple, comprised of little more than cardboard funnels that were opened at narrow ends for the eyes of observers, while the wide ends were closed using thin, cardboard pieces coated in fluorescent metal salt. Images obtained this way were very faint, requiring early radiologists to sit in a darkened room and let their eyes adjust, so as to be more sensitive to the faint light. It is in these darkened rooms that the procedure would be performed.
The technology behind fluoroscopy was further developed by Thomas Edison. Eventually, imaging became high quality enough to allow for the commercialization of fluoroscopes.
With the development of fluoroscopy x-ray diagnostics came the need for greater visual protection, and laser protective glasses are commonly used by doctors to ensure their visual safety. Although this is not a requirement of all surgical departments, laser protective glasses provide technicians, surgeons, and other people the protection they need while working close to fluoroscopes that emit high frequency radiation. In fact, a study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that “On average, the use of leaded glasses reduced radiation to the surgeon phantom’s eye by tenfold, a 90% reduction in dose”.
Laser Protective Glasses Will Protect Eyes During Surgery
Laser protective glasses provide a high level of protection to anyone who is working around powerful radiological equipment such as fluoroscopes. Eye protection is less of a concern for the patient, as the general public is only exposed to these levels of radiation on a relatively rare basis. However, doctors, surgeons, and technicians who are exposed to these levels of radiation on a consistent basis do require a higher degree of protection, as much of the danger of radiation exposure lies in the building up of doses over time.
Laser protective glasses help protect many different parts of your eyes that are sensitive to radiation, including:
- Retinal Blood Vessels: The tiny veins and arteries in the eye
- Conjunctiva: The mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye
- Lenses: The clear part of the eye that directs and focuses light
- Sclera: The white outer layer that comprises most of the visible eye
- Irises: The colored disc that surrounds the pupil
Consistent exposure to radiation can cause a number of problems, and one of the most common problems associated with vision is cardiac development. Cardiacs are a clouding of the lens, which is normally clear. While cataracts often occur naturally with age, radiation induced cataracts form on the back of the lens. Symptoms involved with radiation induced cataracts include:
- Cloudy or dim vision
- Seeing auras or “halos” around lights and objects
- Sensitivity to light
- Inability to see at night
- Colors begin to fade
Who Should Be Wearing Laser Protective Glasses?
Anyone who is working directly with technology that emits high frequency radiation should be wearing laser protective glasses, whether it is inside or outside of an operating theater. Dental assistant, surgeons, nurses, radiation technicians, and many other people require laser protective glasses for consistent eye protection, to mitigate radiation dosage over time, and to prevent possibly irreversible eye damage.
Forms of direct operating equipment one would work with that would require the use of laser protective glasses include:
- Interventional radiological equipment
- Digital x-rays
- Traditional x-rays
- CT image scanners
When it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE), the vast majority of medical facilities maintain strict regulations in terms of what equipment must be used, and when. It is never a bad idea to protect your eyesight, especially when working with high frequency radiation.
Why Laser Protective Glasses Are Required
A lot of radiation emitting equipment is operated directly, rather than from the safety of a remote, shielded room. Surgeons, surgical nurses, anesthesiologists, and many others work in close proximity to this equipment, and the proper use of laser protective glasses will greatly reduce radiation exposure to their eyes.
There are two things to consider when working with equipment that emits high frequency radiation. First is “primary beam radiation”. This is the concentrated and directed x-rays emitted from the equipment. It is obvious that anyone should limit their exposure to this kind of radiation as much as possible.
However, there is a secondary form of radiation that is less direct, called “scatter radiation”. This can be just as harmful as primary beam radiation. Scatter radiation is radiation that has bounced off of surface areas surrounding the equipment, including the patient, medical equipment, surgical team, and surrounding walls and furniture. Although the radiation is scattered out over a larger area, and the rays themselves have reduced in frequency, they are still dangerous.
Radiation can scatter a number of times off of a variety of different surfaces, meaning that a direct line of sight is not required for one to become exposed to radiation.
Laser protective glasses, as well as other forms of personal protective equipment, are essential when working with and around technology that emits high frequency radiation. Surgeon’s eyes are more susceptible to radiation exposure and damage while they are turned away from radiology equipment. High quality laser protective glasses will protect their eyes from both direct and scatter radiation when facing the scanning equipment, but larger styles of laser protective glasses with wrap-around sides will provide the maximum level of visual safety when you must be facing away from the equipment.
You Can Buy the Best Laser Protective Glasses from Kemper Medical
The most crucial factor to consider when buying laser protective glasses is the level of protection they provide. While factors such as style and comfort may very well be tempting things to consider – as glasses that do not meet these criteria are less likely to be worn consistently by professionals – they should not outweigh the importance of personal safety. Your level of visual safety should be the number one determining factor when it comes to purchasing laser protective glasses, and at Kemper Medical, you will find products that meet and exceed your safety requirements.
We offer a wide range of laser protective glasses at affordable prices. Whether you need prescription or non-prescription lenses, they are available at Kemper Medical, in order to ensure the proper radiological protection for anyone in the medical industry.
Kemper Medical carries the best brands available, giving you the protection you need at the prices you can afford.