Ainsbury, E. A., Bouffler, S. D., Dörr, W., Graw, J., Muirhead, C. R., Edwards, A. A. and Cooper, J. Radiation Cataractogenesis: A Review of Recent Studies. Radiat. Res. 172, 1-9 (2009).
The lens of the eye is recognized as one of the most radiosensitive tissues in the human body, and it is known that cataracts can be induced by acute doses of less than 2 Gy of low-LET ionizing radiation and less than 5 Gy of protracted radiation. Although much work has been carried out in this area, the exact mechanisms of radiation cataractogenesis are still not fully understood. In particular, the question of the threshold dose for cataract development is not resolved. Cataracts have been classified as a deterministic effect of radiation exposure with a threshold of approximately 2 Gy. Here we review the combined results of recent mechanistic and human studies regarding induction of cataracts by ionizing radiation. These studies indicate that the threshold for cataract development is certainly less than was previously estimated, of the order of 0.5 Gy, or that radiation cataractogenesis may in fact be more accurately described by a linear, no-threshold model.