Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Damage to the Superior Retinae After 30 Gy Whole-Brain Radiation



The most common treatment protocol for whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) is 30 Gy in 10 fractions. This regimen entails a low risk of radiation retinopathy, with fewer than a dozen reported cases. We describe a case of radiation retinopathy that was confined to the superior retinae. These regions were the only portions of the eyes that were included in the treatment field.

Methods and materials

Observational case report consisting of clinical examination, review of radiation treatment planning and implementation, computerized visual field testing, and fundus photography.


A 36-year-old man with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma developed radiation retinopathy 16 months after WBRT to 30 Gy in 10 fractions. The retinopathy was largely confined to the superior halves of the retinae. There was corresponding geographic inferior visual field loss in both eyes. Review of the patient's treatment protocol revealed that the superior retinae received a substantial radiation dose, approaching 30 Gy, whereas the inferior retinae were essentially outside the treatment field.


In this patient, the correlation between the treatment field and the resulting local development of radiation retinopathy demonstrated unequivocally that the relatively low dose used in routine WBRT (ie, 30 Gy in 10 fractions) can induce radiation retinopathy.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View