The Effects of Radiation Exposure in Medical Imaging to the Eye

George Tsoukatos, BPS, RT(R)

*Digital Radiography Product Specialist, Radiology Support Services, Germantown, NY
Address correspondence to: George Tsoukatos, BPS, RT(R), Radiology Support Services, PO Box 215, Germantown, NY 12526. E-mail:

Disclosures: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Since the invention of the X-ray, one of the more critical questions that has been raised is, "Does the potential harm outweigh the diagnostic benefits?" After the initial discovery of X-rays and prior to the establishment of guidelines by the scientific community in conjunction with prudent medical practices of the time, X-rays were being used by many untrained practitioners. "Cigarette cards" that were created during the late 1800s to early 1900s were known as "The Working Man's Encyclopedia" and were guides for how to use and dose X-rays to patients. Although the X-ray was promoted in both medical and commercial communities, neither one understood the short- or long-term hazards of radiation overexposure. This article will review the history of the development and use of the X-ray since its invention, discuss the hazards of radiation overexposure and lack of protective precautions, and examine all of the potential hazards and safety guidelines pertaining to radiation exposure to the eye in the field of medical imaging. Furthermore, it will discuss the measurements, devices, and regulatory guidelines that govern its use and potential harm to the operator's radiosensitive organ, the eye.

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