Absence of corneal endothelium injury in non-human primates treated with and without ophthalmologic drugs and exposed to 2.8 GHz pulsed microwaves

Shin Tsu Lu, John D'Andrea, Steven Chalfin, Carrie Crane, Donald Marchello, Robert Garay, Donald Hatcher, John Ziriax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Microwave-induced corneal endothelial damage was reported to have a low threshold (2.6 W/kg), and vasoactive ophthalmologic medications lowered the threshold by a factor of 10-0.26 W/kg. In an attempt to confirm these observations, four adult male Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) under propofol anesthesia were exposed to pulsed microwaves in the far field of a 2.8 GHz signal (1.43 ±0.06 μs pulse width, 34Hz pulse repetition frequency, 13.0mW/cm2 spatial and temporal average, and 464W/cm2 spatial and temporal peak (291W/cm2 square wave equivalent) power densities). Corneal-specific absorption rate was 5.07 W/kg (0.39 W/kg/mW/cm 2). The exposure resulted in a 1.0-1.2 °C increase in eyelid temperature. In Experiment I, exposures were 4h/day, 3 days/week for 3 weeks (nine exposures and 36 h total). In Experiment II, these subjects were pretreated with 0.5% Timolol maleate and 0.005% Xalatan® followed by 3 or 7 4-h pulsed microwave exposures. Under ketamine-xylazine anesthesia, a non-contact specular microscope was used to obtain corneal endothelium images, corneal endothelial cell density, and pachymetry at the center and four peripheral areas of the cornea. Ophthalmologic measurements were done before and 7,30,90, and 180 days after exposures. Pulsed microwave exposure did not cause alterations in corneal endothelial cell density and corneal thickness with or without ophthalmologic drugs. Therefore, previously reported changes in the cornea exposed to pulsed microwaves were not confirmed at exposure levels that are more than an order of magnitude higher.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2010



  • Corneal endothelial cell density
  • Corneal thickness
  • Pulsed microwave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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