Eye contamination with Ga-68 droplet

A radiation worker in radiopharmacy was manipulating samples for quality control in a laminar flow box from a closed vial containing a Ga-68 solution with an activity of 700 MBq. By piercing the opening of the vial with a syringe, a droplet has been sprayed out and contaminated his right eye. The worker did not wear any protective glasses. Only after finishing the work, he took care of his eye (8 minutes later) and tamponed the eye with fabric before washing it in a stream of water. Thereafter a measurement was conducted by the radiation protection officer who still detected a small level of contamination, which could be further reduced by additional washing. Given the indications about time, estimated and measured activity the equivalent dose to the eye lens was calculated to be 27 mSv, which exceeds the yearly limit of 20 mSv.

The worker went to an ophthalmologist within two weeks of the incident. According to the internal report, the cornea of the right eye presented slight irritations with some minor erosions and regular application of artificial lacrimal fluid was prescribed. A second examination four days later, exhibited remission of the majority of these lesions, leading to the conclusion that no additional care or follow-up are needed.

The hospital took the following measures to reduce the likelihood of any similar event.

- Insisting on the mandatory wearing of protective glasses in the laboratory
- Insisting on immediate measures of decontamination
- Adaptation of the lead shielding inside the laminar flow box for better ergonomics

Location: Radiopharmacy in a hospital
Event date: Fri, 21-06-2019
Nuclear event report