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What are lead glasses? Why and when do I need to wear them?

Radiation Protection Blog

Lead glasses provide radiation protection for your eyes. It is highly recommended to wear lead glasses at all times during medical imaging procedures to avoid serious health risks.

 Lead glasses have different names in the medical industry. They can also be called:

  • Leaded glasses
  • X-Ray glasses
  • Radiation glasses
  • Leaded eyewear
  • X-ray eyewear
  • Radiation eyewear
  • Radiation safety glasses/ eyewear
  • Radiation protection glasses/ eyewear

Lead Glasses come in different styles to suit different face shapes and requirements:

  • Wraparound frames: Lead glasses with plastic or metal frames, usually without prescription.
  • Fitted frames: Lead glasses that fit over your prescription glasses.
  • Rx frames: Frames that can hold any kind of prescription.
  • Googles and face shields

Deutsch Medical is the only Lead Glasses Supplier which focuses on different "Radiation Safety Levels" to suit different professions and exposure levels:

  • Radiation Safety Level 1: Lead Glasses with only front protection through leaded lenses
    • recommended for short usage/ low exposure to X-Ray source
  • Radiation Safety Level 2: Lead Glasses with front protection through leaded lenses and side protection through leaded side shields 
    • recommended for mid to long usage/ mid to high exposure to X-Ray source (e.g. Interventional applications, Anaethesists)
  • Radiation Safety Level 3: Lead Glasses with front protection through leaded lenses and side, top and bottom protection through a lead-free frame material.
    • recommended for long usage/ high exposure to X-Ray source (e.g. Interventional applications)


WHY and WHERE do I need to wear lead glasses?

Like lead aprons, lead glasses are worn in hospitals and other medical facilities to protect medical staff and patients from radiation/ x-rays. Lead glasses basically act as radiation protection shields for your eyes during medical and diagnostic imaging procedures, such as fluoroscopy, computed tomography and radiography. 

Lead glasses are worn in operating theatres, catheter labs, radiology, medical imaging, dental and veterinary facilities.



Like lead aprons, lead glasses should be worn during any medical imaging procedures to avoid serious health risks.

One of the increased health dangers is a cataract, which usually is a result of long-term exposure to low-dose radiation and can even lead to blindness.

The ICRP - International Commission on Radiological Protection – suggests an occupational limit for radiation exposure to eyes of 150 mSv/year. However, evidence has demonstrated that the limit is too high. The ICRP(1) now recommends an equivalent annual dose limit for the lens of the eye of 20 mSv, averaged over defined periods of five years, with no single year exceeding 50 mSv.

Medical staff still seems to underestimate the health risks to their eyes. According to the study “Historical review of occupational exposures and cancer risks in medical radiation workers”(2) 50% of interventional cardiologists develop cataracts. The risk of cataracts rises as the amount of exposure rises, e.g. during interventional radiology procedures, which are:

  • X-rays
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) and CT fluoroscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Every hospital or medical institution follow different policies or guidelines which can be very confusing. ARPANSA, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, published several recommendations on how to improve Eye Safety in Image Guided Interventional Procedures (IGIP). Occupation Health & Safety departments are required to take appropriate measures to ensure the radiation exposure is limited by applying the IGIP recommendations.

In summary, whenever you are required to put on a lead apron to protect yourself against radiation scatter, you also have to wear lead glasses to protect your eyes.



1. ICRP ref 4825-3093-1464 Statement on Tissue Reactions


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