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November 1953


Author Affiliations

From the Medical College of Virginia.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1953;50(5):618-643. doi:10.1001/archopht.1953.00920030628010

CYCLOTRON VICTIMS  DAMAGE to the lens arising from exposure to ionizing radiation was reported soon after the discovery of x-rays. Isolated cases of radiation cataract appeared among the early x-ray technicians and later among patients who had received radiation therapy to the head. These early cases were reported from time to time in the literature but occasioned scant interest outside ophthalmological circles.Early in December, 1948, it became known that at least five nuclear physicists, of an average age of 31, had manifested incipient cataract. These scientists had a common history of exposure to radiation from the cyclotron, which was known to produce high fluxes of fast neutrons and hard gamma rays. Since it was probable from past experience that relatively high doses of gamma rays were needed to produce lens damage, the presumption was that fast neutrons might be the primary cause of cataract among these cyclotron workers. Accordingly,

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