Risk of radiation retinopathy in patients with orbital and ocular lymphoma

Megha Kaushik, Jose S. Pulido, Steven E. Schild, Scott Stafford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: Radiation retinopathy is a potential long-term complication of radiation therapy to the orbit. The risk of developing this adverse effect is dose dependent; however, the threshold is unclear. The aim of this study was to identify the risk of developing radiation retinopathy at increasing radiation doses. Methods and Materials: A 40-year retrospective review was performed of patients who received external beam radiation therapy for ocular/orbital non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Results: Sixty-seven patients who had at least one ophthalmic follow-up examination were included in this study. Most patients (52%) were diagnosed with NHL involving the orbit. Patients received external beam radiation therapy at doses between 1886 and 5400 cGy (mean, 3033 ± 782 cGy). Radiation retinopathy developed in 12% of patients, and the median time to diagnosis was 27 months (range, 15-241months). The mean prescribed radiation dose in patients with retinopathy was 3309 ± 585 cGy, and the estimated retinal dose (derived by reviewing the dosimetry) was 3087 ± 1030 cGy. The incidence of retinopathy increased with dose. The average prescribed daily fractionated dose was higher in patients who developed retinopathy than in patients who did not (mean, 202 cGy vs 180 cGy, respectively; P =.04). More patients with radiation retinopathy had comorbid diabetes mellitus type 2 than patients without retinopathy (P =.015). In our study, the mean visual acuity of the eyes that received radiation was worse than that of the eyes that did not (P =.027). Other postradiotherapy ocular findings included keratitis (6%), dry eyes (39%), and cataract (33%). Conclusions: Radiation retinopathy, a known complication of radiotherapy for orbital tumors, relates to vascular comorbidities and dose. Higher total doses and larger daily fractions (>180 cGy) appear to be related to higher rates of retinopathy. Future larger studies are required to identify a statistically significant threshold for the development of retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1150
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Orbital lymphoma
  • Radiation retinopathy
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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