Background: In April 1986, numerous reactor workers and firemen were exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation during the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. Apart from high ambient γ-ray exposures they received inhomogeneous contamination with β-rays from fission products, resulting in severe skin exposure. Patients and Methods: Sixteen of these so called Liquidators were repeatedly examined between 1991 and 1996. Their doses ranged from 0.35 to 9 Gy, partly confirmed by determination of chromosomal aberrations. Ophthalmologic examination included non-subjective assessment of lenticular radiation damage with an electronic Scheimpflug camera system. Digital image analysis allowed the comparison of opacification units to previous and normal findings. Results: Four Liquidators had posterior subcapsular opacifications in different degrees, one presented only after cataract extraction. One patient had dense corticonuclear cataracts and pseudoexfoliation-like changes. Three men had severe dry eye syndrome. Eight men had no ocular complications. Retinal radiation damages were absent. 15 Liquidators suffered from severe chronic cutaneous radiation damage, which led to amputations in 3 cases. Conclusions: A relation between ocular and dermatological findings was not expected and could, in fact, not be seen. The comparison of posterior subcapsular opacification and doses revealed no distinct relation, although it indicates a correlation that is here not quantified. The doses represent organ doses for the bone marrow which is primarily exposed to deeper penetrating γ-radiation. Thus they need not be correlated with combined β- and γ-doses in organs such as skin and eye because the superficial exposure due to β-radiation may differ greatly form the whole body exposure as reflected in bone marrow doses.
|Translated title of the contribution||Long term ocular and dermatologic findings after combined β- and γ-ray exposure during Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Klinische Monatsblatter fur Augenheilkunde|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1999|
- Nuclear accident
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