The incidence of cataracts in patients who have received total body irradiation (TBI) is about 20% and increases to 40% if the patient is treated for graft-versus-host disease. At our institution, all TBI patients are treated with two lateral opposed 24 MV photon fields. No attempt is usually made to shield the eyes during the TBI treatment because of the amount of lead required to adequately attenuate mega-voltage photon beams, the difficulty in properly positioning an eye shield and the possibility of compromising the effectiveness of the treatment. However, we were asked to treat a TBI patient who is a professional pilot, and thus his livelihood is contingent upon maintaining perfect vision. A custom eye shield was constructed out of lead and ionization chamber and film measurements were performed under TBI conditions to determine the thickness and location of the eye block to optimize the competing effects of increased scatter and attenuation from the lead. Phantom data were also obtained for 6 MV irradiation for comparison with 24 MV. In-vivo patient and phantom measurements with thermoluminescent dosimeters showed that with visual positioning of the eye block the dose was reduced from 16 to 20% across the orbits of both eyes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Dosimetry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Cataracts
  • Interface dosimetry
  • Shielding
  • Thermoluminescent detectors
  • Total body irradiation


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