Individual response of the ocular lens to ionizing radiation

Stephen G.R. Barnard, Nobuyuki Hamada*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Cataract (opacification of the ocular lens) is a typical tissue reaction (deterministic effect) following ionizing radiation exposure, for which prevention dose limits have been recommended in the radiation protection system. Manifestations of radiation cataracts can vary among individuals, but such potential individual responses remain uncharacterized. Here we review relevant literature and discuss implications for radiation protection. This review assesses evidence for significant modification of radiation-induced cataractogenesis by age at exposure, sex and genetic factors based on current scientific literature. Conclusions: In addition to obvious physical factors (e.g. dose, dose rate, radiation quality, irradiation volume), potential factors modifying individual responses for radiation cataracts include sex, age and genetics, with comorbidity and coexposures also having important roles. There are indications and preliminary data identifying such potential modifiers of radiation cataract incidence or risk, although no firm conclusions can yet be drawn. Further studies and a consensus on the evidence are needed to gain deeper insights into factors determining individual responses regarding radiation cataracts and the implications for radiation protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-154
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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© Copyright © 2022 Taylor & Francis Group LLC.


  • Radiation cataracts
  • age at exposure
  • attained age
  • epigenetic factors
  • genetic factors
  • individual response


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