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Irwin I. Tendler, MEng Alan Hartford, MD, PhD Michael Jermyn, PhD Brian W. Pogue, PhD David J. Gladstone, ScD Lesley A. Jarvis, MD, PhD

Experimentally Observed Cherenkov Light Generation in the Eye During Radiation Therapy

publication date
07 January 2020
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Patients have reported sensations of seeing light flashes during radiation therapy, even with their eyes closed. These observations have been attributed to either direct excitation of retinal pigments or generation of Cherenkov light inside the eye. Both in vivo human and ex vivo animal eye imaging was used to confirm light intensity and spectra to determine its origin and overall observability.

Methods and Materials

A time-gated and intensified camera was used to capture light exiting the eye of a patient undergoing stereotactic radiosurgery in real time, thereby verifying the detectability of light through the pupil. These data were compared with follow-up mechanistic imaging of ex vivo animal eyes with thin radiation beams to evaluate emission spectra and signal intensity variation with anatomic depth. Angular dependency of light emission from the eye was also measured.



Patient imaging showed that light generation in the eye during radiation therapy can be captured with a signal-to-noise ratio of 68. Irradiation of ex vivo eye samples confirmed that the spectrum matched that of Cherenkov emission and that signal intensity was largely homogeneous throughout the entire eye, from the cornea to the retina, with a slight maximum near 10 mm depth. Observation of the signal external to the eye was possible through the pupil from 0° to 90°, with a detected emission near 2500 photons per millisecond (during peak emission of the ON cycle of the pulsed delivery), which is over 2 orders of magnitude higher than the visible detection threshold.


By quantifying the spectra and magnitude of the signal, we now have direct experimental observations that Cherenkov light is generated in the eye during radiation therapy and can contribute to perceived light flashes. Furthermore, this technique can be used to further study and measure phosphenes in the radiation therapy clinic.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

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Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

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