The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


Study: Radiography... occupational hazard, corneal surface-wise?

OK this was fascinating. One likes to think every precaution is taken for radiographers’ job safety, and yet, significant differences are showing up in their corneas.

The ocular surface status in individuals having long-term exposure to ionizing X-radiations. Aghamirsalim et al, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, Feb 2019.



The present investigation was done to assess the status of tear film and corneal topography in individuals with long-term exposure to X-ray.


This historical cohort study was carried out to compare the lacrimal and corneal findings between radiographers (n = 126) and non-radiographers (n = 172). Radiographers included individuals with at least 5 years of experience in radiography while subjects in the control group had no history of exposure to X-ray. The Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) was filled out by all individuals. Besides, the Pentacam imaging of both eyes was done. Finally, the lacrimal tests including tear break-up time and Schirmer (with anesthesia) were performed for both eyes of the participants.


The mean values of the Schirmer and Tear breakup time (TBUT) in the radiographer group (Schirmer: 11.1 ± 3.2 mm, TBUT: 11.3 ± 4.1 s) were significantly lower than the values in control group (14.6 ± 8.1 mm, TBUT: 12.8 ± 4.8 s) (P < 0.0001). The mean OSDI score of the radiographers was significantly higher compared to the control group (24.1 ± 17.6, and 12.3 ± 12.4 respectively (P < 0.0001)). The corneal thickness in the center, inferior, superior, temporal and nasal parts was significantly higher in radiographers versus the control group. In addition, the maximum thickness difference was observed in temporal part (34.00 μm thicker) (P < 0.0001). On the other hand, the corneal eccentricity factor was lower in radiographers compared to the control group (P < 0.0001).


Based on the findings of this study, it is concluded that the radiographers have thicker and flatter corneas are than the corneas of the subjects in the control group. However, their corneas had no irregularities. Regarding the tear point, a higher prevalence of dry eye symptoms was observed in the radiographers compared to the control group.