In its statement on tissue reactions approved on April 21, 2011, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has reviewed its recommendation about the equivalent dose limit for the lens of the eye. The new recommendation is then: “For occupational exposure in planned exposure situations the Commission now recommends an equivalent dose limit for the lens of the eye of 20 mSv in a year, averaged over defined periods of 5 years, with no single year exceeding 50 mSv”. ICRP Statement does not contain any explicit recommendation regarding the organ dose limit for the lens of the eye for public exposure which is interpreted as no change being proposed.
In the general ICRP approach, the current equivalent dose limit for the public is ten times lower than for occupational exposure. Thus, no reduction of the limit for the public may question the coherence of the overall approach. In this context, additional data on potential scenarii for public exposure of the lens of the eye is needed. In particular, potential situations where planned exposure situations can lead to exposures exceeding 1 mSv/year for the lens of the eye should be explored.
This paper, based on a bibliographic study aims at providing, as far as possible, an exhaustive list of the situations in which members of the public are exposed to potential dose to the lens of the eye. Once these situations have been defined (in terms of nuclides, activities, occurrence, etc.), a summary of existing studies giving estimates of doses to the lens of the eye is presented, completed by IRSN calculations. The situations for workers or patients are not in the scope of this study.
This bibliography study did not reveal any current situations where members of the public would be able to receive significant radiation dose to the lens of the eye. The very few existing situations for which the dose to the lens of the eye might reach about 1 mSv are exotic ones.