Physical factors in cataractogenesis: Ambient ultraviolet radiation and temperature

D. H. Sliney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


A number of environmental cofactors have been implicated in cataracto-genesis. Two have received the greatest attention: ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and ambient temperature. Unfortunately, both temperature and UVR levels vary similarly with geographical latitude. Careful attention to several more refined physical variables and the geometry of exposure may permit investigators to separate the contributory effect of these two physical agents. This paper briefly reviews the available data, estimates the variation of lenticular temperature with ambient temperature, and provides measurements of short-wavelength (UV-B) UVR exposure to the human eye with different meterological conditions. The study attempts to provide epidemiological investigators with more detailed information necessary to perform more accurate studies of cataract and other ocular pathologies that appear to be related to environmental factors. Ocular UV-B radiation exposure levels were measured at nine locations in the USA near 40° latitude at elevations from sea level to 8000 ft. Terrain reflectance is shown to be much more important than terrain elevation; cloud cover and haze may actually increase ocular exposure; and the value of wearing brimmed hats and spectacles varies with the enviroment. Several avenues for future research are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-790
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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