Electromagnetic Radiation and the formation of Cataracts in the Eyes

Electromagnetic Radiation and the formation of Cataracts in the Eyes
Electromagnetic Radiation and the formation of Cataracts in the Eyes

In the early 1970s the U.S. Army undertook an ophthalmological study of employees at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, a facility where electronic communication, detection, and guidance equipment are tested, developed and used. Workers exposed to microwaves had substantially more lens opacities than the controls (Frey, 1985). [1]

Huai (1981) found more lens vacuoles in irradiated workers than in controls. The tendency was evident even in those exposed to less than 200 μW / cm2, and became statistically significant at higher intensifies. A few cases of cataracts were found in the microwave workers. [2]

Bachurin (1979) noted a greater incidence of points of turbidity of the lens, narrowing of the arteries, spasm of vessels, and beginning sclerosis and angiopathy of the retina. These were young men working in TV and radio installations and other facilities where microwave intensities fluctuated between 20 and 60 μW / cm2, only occasionally reaching 100 μW / cm2. [3]

Sadchikova (1974) [4] and Sadchikova et al. (1980) [5] noted angiopathy or sclerosis of retinal blood vessels in workers exposed to several hundred μW / cm2 in radar production shops.

Drogichina (1960), 20 years previously, had noted both angiopathy of the retina and opacifications of the lens in microwave workers. [6]

In 1963, Zaret studied 736 radar workers and 559 controls, and found significantly more lens opacities in the radar workers. [7] Belova’s (1963) study of 370 microwave workers, [8] and Majewska’s (1968) study of 200 microwave workers [9] yielded similar results. Zydecki (1974) found an increased frequency of lens opacities in 3000 microwave workers who were never exposed to thermal intensities and concluded that microwaves prematurely age the lens. [10] Baranski and Czerski (1976), reviewing this study, stress that “the statistical treatment of data is extremely careful and does not leave room for doubts” (p. 167). [11]


[1] Frey, A.H. (1985). Data analysis reveals significant microwave-induced eye damage in humans. Journal of Microwave Power 1985, pp. 53-55.

[2] Huai, C. (1981). Assessment of health hazard and standard promulgation in China. Biological Effects and Dosimetry of Non-ionizing Radiation, NATO Conference, Erice, Italy, 1981, pp. 627-644.

[3] Bachurin, I. V. (1979). Influence of small doses of electromagnetic waves on some human organs and systems. Vrachebnoye Delo 7:95-97, 1979. JPRS 75515, pp. 36-39.

[4] Sadchikova, M.N. (1973). Clinical manifestations of reactions to microwave irradiation in various occupational groups. In Biologic Effects and Health Hazards of Microwave Radiation: Proceedings of an International Symposium, Warsaw, 15-18 Oct., 1973, P. Czerski et al., eds., pp. 261-267.

[5] Sadchikova, M.N., Kharlamova, S.F., Shatskaya, N.N. and Kuznetsova, N.V. (1980). Significance of blood lipid and electrolyte disturbances in the development of some reactions to microwaves. Gigiyena Truda i Professional’nyye Zabolevaniya 2:38-39, 1980. JPRS 77393, pp. 37-39.

[6] Drogichina, E.A. (1960). The clinic of chronic UHF influence on the human organism. In The Biological Action of Ultrahigh Frequencies, A.A. Letavet and Z.V. Gordon, eds., Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, 1960. JPRS 12471, pp. 22-24.

[7] Zaret, M., Cleary, S., Pasternack, B., Eisenbud, M., & Schmidt, H. (1963). Final report on contract AF30 (602) 2215—prepared for Rome Air Force Center, on “A Study of Lenticular Imperfections in the Eyes of a Sample of Microwave Workers and a Control Population,” submitted March 15, 1963. RADC-TDR63-125.

[8] S.F. Belova, Nauchn. Issledo. Inst. Gig. Tr. Profzabol., Tr. No. 1, p. 36 (1960)

[9] Majewska, K. (1968). Investigations on the effect of microwaves on the eye. Pol Med J 1968; 7 (4): 989-994.

[10] Zydecki, S. (1974) Assessment of lens translucency in juveniles, microwave workers and in age-matched groups. In: Czerski, P., Ostrowski, K., Shore, M. L., Silverman, Ch., Suess, M. J., & Waldeskog, B., ed. Biologic effects and health hazards of microwave radiation, Warsaw, Polish Medical Publishers, pp. 306-308.

[11] Baranski, S. and Czerski, P. (1976). Biological Effects of Microwaves. Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudsburg.


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