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Risk of radiation cataractogenesis due to CT head positioning

Poster Details

First Author: N.Dziadulewicz UK

Co Author(s):    N. Ali   L. Ratnam           

Abstract Details


Computerised tomography (CT) scans can contribute significantly to accrued radiation dose and can cause radiation damage to human tissues. Evidence from studies of exposure to both large and small doses of radiation indicate increased risk of developing cataracts. The Royal College of Radiologists recommends that lenses should be excluded from as many scans as possible and that this can be usually achieved with adequate positioning. The purpose of this audit is to investigate the frequency that lenses are included in routine CT heads.


Large teaching hospital in South London with a tertiary-referral neurosurgical unit.


50 consecutive CT head scans at our hospital were reviewed retrospectively to see if specifically the lens of each eye (n=100) was included or not. CT heads done for trauma were excluded as the head may be in a neck brace and preclude optimal positioning, and/or orbital fractures may be present and imaging beneficial. Confusion or ongoing seizure activity were excluded due to potential inability to follow instructions or stay positioned. Scans on very young children were also excluded.


It was found that 92% of the lenses were included in the scans and therefore at risk of irradiation.


Guidelines for the exclusion of lenses during CT head scans were not being followed. New local guidelines have been drawn up and implemented. A re-audit will be conducted to assess the effectiveness of this change in protocol. Clinicians need to be aware of the recommendation to exclude the crystalline lens from CT head scans which do not require anterior orbital visualisation.

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