An investigation into potential improvements in the design of lead glasses for protecting the eyes of interventional cardiologists

Edilaine Honorio da Silva, Colin J. Martin, Filip Vanhavere, Jérémie Dabin, Nico Buls

Research outputpeer-review


The lens of the eye can be damaged by ionising radiation, so individuals whose eyes are exposed to radiation during their work may need to protect their eyes from exposure. Lead glasses are widely available, but there are questions about their efficiency in providing eye protection. In this study, Monte Carlo simulations are used to assess the efficiency of lead glasses in protecting the sensitive volume of the eye lens. Two designs currently available for interventional cardiologists are a wraparound (WA) style and ones with flat frontal lenses with side shielding. These designs were considered together with four modifications that would impact upon their efficiency: changing the lead equivalent thickness, adding lead to the frames, elongating the frontal lenses, and adding a closing shield to the bottom rim. For the eye closest to the source, standard models of lead glasses only decrease the radiation reaching the most sensitive region of the eye lens by 22% or less. Varying the lead thickness between 0.4 mm and 0.75 mm had little influence on the protection provided in the simulation of clinical use, neither did adding lead to the frames. Improved shielding was obtained by elongating the frontal lens, which could reduce radiation reaching the eye lens by up to 76%. Glasses with lenses that had a rim at the base, extending towards the face of the user, also provided better shielding than current models, decreasing the dose by up to 80%. In conclusion, elongating the frontal lens of lead glasses, especially of the WA design, could provide a three-fold increase in shielding efficiency and this is still valid for lenses with 0.4 mm lead equivalence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031501
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Radiological protection
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2022

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