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Understanding Cataract Risk in Aerospace Flight Crew And Review of Mechanisms of Cataract FormationInduction of cataracts by occupational exposure in flight crew has been an important topic of interest in aerospace medicine in the past five years, in association with numerous reports of flight-associated disease incidences. Due to numerous confounding variables, it has been difficult to determine if there is increased cataract risk directly caused by interaction with the flight environment, specifically associated with added radiation exposure during flight. Military aviator records from the United States Air Force (USAF) and Navy (USN) and US astronauts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) were evaluated for the presence, location and age of diagnosis of cataracts. Military aviators were found to have a statistically significant younger average age of onset of their cataracts compared with astronauts, however the incidence density of cataracts was found to be statistically higher in astronauts than in military aviators. USAF and USN aviator s cataracts were most commonly located in the posterior subcapsular region of the lens while astronauts cataracts were most likely to originate generally in the cortical zone. A prospective clinical trial which controls for confounding variables in examination technique, cataract classification, diet, exposure, and pharmacological intervention is needed to determine what percentage of the risk for cataracts are due to radiation, and how to best develop countermeasures to protect flight crews from radiation bioeffects in the future.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Jones, Jeffrey A. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
McCarten, M. (Department of the Navy United States)
Manuel, K. (Kelsey Seybold Clinic, P.A. Houston, TX, United States)
Djojonegoro, B. (Wyle Labs., Inc. United States)
Murray, J. (Wyle Labs., Inc. United States)
Cucinotta, F. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Feiversen, A. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Wear, M. (Wyle Labs., Inc. United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2006
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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