Believe it or not, this is a question that we get asked by medical doctors all the time. During their daily job most are simply told to wear radiation protection glasses but never told why they should wear them so in this article we are going to answer the question Why Should I Wear Radiation Protection Glasses?
What is Radiation?
Radiation is simply a form of energy which travels at the speed of light. Radiation can also be referred to as electromagnetic waves as it has both an electric field and magnetic fields connected to it and travels in waves.
In a medical setting the most common type of radiation is X-Rays which are used to create an image of what is going on inside the body.
As the energy passes through your body it reacts differently with skin, bone and organs therefore creating an image that a medical professional can assess to see what is wrong.
Some of this radiation will pass straight through the body, however some of it is absorbed as it passes through and is stored within in the body.
How can radiation affect me?
If you are receiving or carrying out an X-Ray, there will be risks involved for both the person receiving the X-Ray and the person operating it.
As explained above a radiation passes through the body some of it is absorbed, this absorption collects in the body and contributes to the overall radiation dose. This is fine if you are simply in for one X-Ray every so often throughout your life but if you are operating the machinery every day you will need to consider ways to reduce your radiation dose.
Radiation that accumulates in the body at high levels can cause acute damage to cells which can cause long term health issues such as cancers, cataracts, and cardiovascular disease.
At low levels it does not cause immediate health risks, but this is compounded over time and increased use and can contribute to our overall cancer risk.
There are still ongoing studies into the risks of long-term radiation taking place however it is already best practice to have procedures in place to reduce the amount that an operator is exposed to.
How does radiation affect the eyes?
There have been many recent studies that have shown a link between radiation and various diseases in the body. Many medical and interventional radiologists have reported cases of cataracts, glaucoma, optic neuropathy, retinopathy and angiopathy, sometimes associated with specific neurocognitive deficits.
This is due to the fact that the human brain and eyes are radiosensitive organs and therefore hypersensitive to radiation as it passes through the body.
Only as recently as 2012 did the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) state how “special attention should be paid to the radiation effects in the lens of the eye and the cardiovascular system”.
How can I protect myself from radiation?
The best way to protect yourself against radiation is to reduce the amount of it that passes through your body.
You might also encounter lead barriers or shields that block the radiation from where you are standing. However, it is also advised to be wearing the radiation clothing state above as well as an extra precaution.
Why Should I Wear Radiation Protection Glasses?
Radiation glasses can help to reduce or prevent the effects of radiation on the eye over the long term and should be worn whenever radiation is present.
Some of the options for radiation glasses are below. They all come with radiation reducing, distortion free 0.75mm PbEq lead lenses and can be purchased with additional side shields which work to protect the temple area of the head.
The side shields are a great addition as they can provide another 0.5mm PbEq where previously none was present.
You can also add a pair of lateral side shields which work in the same way as the side shields but can be removed and used on another pair of glasses if required.
This is a great solution for those working in busy theatres and departments where equipment is shared.
Many radiation glasses are also available in prescription and can be used in lieu of your normal prescription glasses.
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When choosing your radiation glasses, you should consider:
Lead Equivalency – this should be a minimum of 0.75mm PbEq to keep your eyes protected.
The Frame – This should be a well-fitting frame that hugs closely to your face to prevent gaps between your face and the radiation reducing lenses. You should consider adding a retainer cord to the glasses to keep them in place while you are working.
Weight – All radiation glasses weigh more than typical safety glasses. This is due to the glass lead lenses which are specially formulated to reduce radiation and are thicker than standard safety glasses which are often produced with polycarbonate lenses which will not work for reducing radiation.
Warranty – Your glasses should be provided with a minimum 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. While this won’t cover you for breakages, it will provide you with peace of mind if your frame does not function as required.
This article should have outlined to you the dangers of radiation and its subsequent effect on the eyes and hopefully answered your question of Why Should I Wear Radiation Protection Glasses?
If you have any questions about which radiation glasses you should choose or what your needs might be, do not hesitate to get in contact with our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org