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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Ophthalmology 1/2017

The risk of cataractogenesis after gamma knife radiosurgery: a nationwide population based case-control study

BMC Ophthalmology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Cheng-Loong Liang, Po-Chou Liliang, Tai-Been Chen, Huan-Chen Hsu, Fu-Cheng Chuang, Kuo-Wei Wang, Hao-Kuang Wang, San-Nan Yang, Han-Jung Chen



Medical radiation is considered a factor responsible for cataractogenesis. However, the incidence of this ophthalmologic complication resulting from gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has not yet been reported. The present study aimed to determine the risk of cataractogenesis associated with radiation exposure from GKRS.


This study used information from a random sample of one million persons enrolled in the nationally representative Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The GK group consisted of patients who underwent GKRS between 2000 and 2009. The non-GK group was composed of subjects who had never undergone GKRS, but who were matched with the case group for time of enrollment, age, sex, history of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes.


There were 277 patients in the GK group and 2770 matched subjects in the non-GK group. The GK group had a higher overall incidence of cataracts (10.11% vs. 7.26%; crude hazard ratio [cHR], 1.59; 95% CI, 1.07–2.36; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.25; 95% CI, 0.82–1.90) than the non-GK group. Patients who had undergone computed tomography and/or cerebral angiography (CT/angio) studies had a higher risk of developing cataracts than those who did not (10.82% vs. 6.64%; cHR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.31–2.30; aHR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.22–2.23). The age group between 30 and 50 years had the highest risk of cataractogenesis in both the GK and CT/angio groups (cHR, 3.50; 95% CI, 1.58–7.72; aHR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.02–5.81; cHR, 2.96; 95% CI, 1.47–5.99; aHR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.05–4.93, respectively).


Radiation exposure due to GKRS and CT/angio study may be independently associated with increased risk of cataractogenesis. We suggest routine dosimetry measurement of eye lens and proper protection for patients with benign lesions during GKRS. Regular follow-up imaging studies should avoid the use of CT/angio, and particular care should be taken in the 30–50-year-old age group, due to their significantly increased risk of cataract formation.
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