EMF Health-effects Research

Increased sensitivity of the non-human primate eye to microwave radiation following ophthalmic drug pretreatment

Kues HA, Monahan JC, D'Anna SA, McLeod DS, Lutty GA, Koslov S,

Bioelectromagnetics 13(5):379-393, 1992

Previous studies in our laboratory have established that pulsed microwaves at 2.45 GHz and 10 mW/cm2 are associated with production of corneal endothelial lesions and with disruption of the blood-aqueous barrier in the non-human primate eye.

In the study reported here we examined ocular damage in monkeys (M. mulatta and M. fascicularis) following topical treatment with one of two ophthalmic drugs (timolol maleate and pilocarpine) that preceded exposure to pulsed microwaves.

Anesthetized monkeys were sham exposed or exposed to pulsed, 2.45 GHz microwaves (10 microseconds, 100 pps) at average power densities of 0.2, 1, 5, 10, or 15 mW/cm2 4 h a day for 3 consecutive days (respective SARs were 0.052, 0.26, 1.3, 2.6, and 3.9 W/kg). Immediately before microwave exposure, one or both eyes were treated topically with one drop of 0.5% timolol maleate or of 2% pilocarpine.

Following administration of a drug, we observed a significant reduction in the power-density threshold (from 10 to 1 mW/cm2) for induction of corneal endothelial lesions and for increased vascular permeability of the iris.

Diagnostic procedures (in vivo specular microscopy and fluorescein iris angiography) were performed following each exposure protocol. In addition, increased vascular permeability was confirmed with horseradish peroxidase tracer techniques.

Although we did not measure intraocular temperatures in experimental animals, the results suggest that a mechanism other than significant heating of the eye is involved.

Our data indicate that pulsed microwaves at an average SAR of 0.26 W/kg, if administered after pretreatment with ophthalmic drugs, can produce significant ocular effects in the anesthetized primate.

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