Disposable, lightweight shield decreases operator eye and brain radiation dose when attached to safety eyewear during fluoroscopically guided interventions

Melissa L. Kirkwood, Andrea Klein, Carlos Timaran, Michael Siah, Michael Shih, Shadman Baig, Yin Xi, Jeffrey Guild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Long-term radiation exposure from fluoroscopically guided interventions (FGIs) can cause cataracts and brain tumors in the operator. We have previously demonstrated that leaded eyewear does not decrease the operator eye radiation dose unless lead shielding has been added to the lateral and inferior portions. Therefore, we have developed a disposable, lightweight, lead-equivalent shield that can be attached to the operator's eyewear that conforms to the face and adheres to the surgical mask. In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of our new prototype in lowering the operator brain and eye radiation dose when added to both leaded and nonleaded eyewear. Methods: The attenuating efficacy of leaded eyewear alone, leaded eyewear plus the prototype, and nonleaded eyewear plus the prototype were compared with no eyewear protection in both a simulated setting and clinical practice. In the simulation, optically stimulated, luminescent nanoDot detectors (Landauer, Inc, Glenwood, Ill) were placed inside the ocular, temporal lobe, and midbrain spaces of a head phantom (ATOM model-701; CIRS, Norfolk, Va). The phantom was positioned to represent a primary operator performing right femoral access. Fluorography was performed on a plastic scatter phantom at 80 kVp for an exposure of 3 Gy reference air kerma. In the clinical setting, nanoDots were placed below the operator's eye both inside and outside the prototype during the FGIs. The median and interquartile ranges were calculated for the dose at each nanoDot location for the phantom and clinical studies. The average dose reduction was also recorded. Results: Wearing standard leaded eyewear alone did not decrease the operator ocular or brain radiation dose. In the phantom experiment, the leaded glasses plus the prototype reduced the radiation dose to the lens, temporal lobe, and midbrain by 83% (P < .001), 78% (P < .001), and 75% (P < .001), respectively. The nonleaded glasses plus the prototype also reduced the dose to the lens, temporal lobe, and midbrain by 85% (P < .001), 81% (P < .001), and 71% (P < .001), respectively. A total of 15 FGIs were included in the clinical setting, with a median reference air kerma of 98.4 mGy. The use of our prototype led to an average operator eye dose reduction of 89% (P < .001). Conclusions: Attaching our prototype to both leaded and nonleaded glasses significantly decreased the eye and brain radiation dose to the operator. This face shield attachment provided meaningful radiation protection and should be considered as either a replacement or an adjunct to routine eyewear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Brain tumor
  • Cataract
  • Radiation dose
  • Radiation exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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