Risk of cataract removal surgery in Mayak PA workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation over prolonged periods

  • Tamara V. AzizovaEmail author
  • Nobuyuki Hamada
  • Evgeny V. Bragin
  • Maria V. Bannikova
  • Evgeniya S. Grigoryeva
Original Article


In this study, the risk of cataract removal surgery was assessed in a cohort of workers occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation over a prolonged period. The study cohort includes 22,377 workers of the Mayak Production Association (about 25% of whom are females) first employed at one of the main facilities in 1948–1982, who were followed up to the end of 2008. Dose estimates used in the study are provided by the Mayak Worker Dosimetry System 2008. The mean cumulative dose from external γ-rays [personal dose equivalent Hp(10)] is 0.54 ± 0.76 Sv for males and 0.44 ± 0.65 Sv for females. The mean cumulative doses from neutrons (personal dose equivalent Hp(10)n) were 0.034 ± 0.080 Sv for males and 0.033 ± 0.092 Sv for females. Relative risks and excess relative risks per unit dose were calculated based on maximum likelihood. Among 4,177 workers diagnosed with a verified diagnosis of senile cataract, 701 lens removal surgeries (16.7%) were performed by the end of the follow-up period. The risk of cataract removal surgery was shown to be significantly associated with non-radiation factors such as sex, attained age, smoking, an ocular comorbidity (e.g., glaucoma), and a somatic comorbidity (e.g., diabetes mellitus). There was no significant association of cataract removal surgery with external γ-dose regardless of inclusion of the neutron dose adjustment with either linear or non-linear models. It is concluded that cataract removal surgery rate may not be a highly sensitive and specific indicator that could serve as a surrogate for radiation-related cataracts.


Mayak workers Cataract removal surgery Risk Chronic occupational radiation exposures 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The present record-based epidemiological study did not require any contact with cohort members. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Southern Urals Biophysics Institute (SUBI) reviewed and approved the study, and confirmed that no signed consents were needed from members of the study cohort.

Supplementary material

411_2019_787_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 28 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Urals Biophysics Institute (SUBI)OzyorskRussia
  2. 2.Radiation Safety Research Center, Nuclear Technology Research LaboratoryCentral Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI)TokyoJapan

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