Interventional cardiologists see heightened rates for cataracts

New research finds that interventional cardiologists run an increased risk of developing cataracts due to occupational exposures to radiation—and they need to make use of protective measures.

The study appeared in the July 2017 issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.

A research team—led by Ahmed Elmaraezy, MD, with Al-Azhar University in Cairo—carried out a systematic literature review

 searching nine databases to identify studies that discussed the development of cataracts among interventional cardiologists. In total, the team identified eight studies that discussed the development of cataracts among 2,559 interventional cardiologists. The opacity of the posterior lens was significantly higher in the cardiologists, as compared to the opacity of the lens in the control group members.

During their daily work performing catheterizations, interventional cardiologists are routinely exposed to potentially damaging radiation. The lens of the eye is one of the most sensitive organs to this damaging exposure, leaving interventional cardiologists highly susceptible to the development of radiation-induced cataracts and thus in need of highly effective safety measures.

“[I]nterventional cardiologists and accompanying technical staff exposed to occupational ionizing radiation are more susceptible to cataract than unexposed controls,” wrote Elmaraezy et al. “Using radiation protective measures is a must and further investigations are recommended for determining the threshold dose of radiation.”