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August 13, 1949


JAMA. 1949;140(15):1218-1219. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02900500026010

As early as 18971 physicians knew that roentgen rays could damage some structures of the eye. Unequivocal demonstration of cataract formation in the lens of the irradiated immature kitten was made eight years later.2 Since that time the entity of radiation cataract has been well established, both clinically and experimentally.3 Even after the lapse of half a century, the data available are at best qualitative, and many unanswered questions remain as to dosage, species differences and individual variations in biologic susceptibility. Roentgen rays exert their major damage on the dividing cells of the lens equator, and this damage provides the nidus for the slowly developing, progressive lenticular opacities which appear, most characteristically in the posterior subcapsular region.4

Recently the development of cataracts in young physicists with a common history of exposure to cyclotron radiations has aroused a new and acute interest in this aspect of radiation