Internal eye shield for radiotherapy to the eyelid

Radiotherapy uses radiation (high energy X-rays or similar rays) to treat cancer. It damages your body’s cells in the area being treated. The radiotherapy kills the cancer cells but allows your normal cells to recover.

The side effects of radiotherapy usually happen in the area being treated. During your radiotherapy treatment to your eyelid we want to protect your eye from the radiation. To do this, we will use an internal eye shield each time you come for treatment.

Protecting your eye

We protect your eye with a shield. It is inserted under either the upper or lower eyelid, or to cover the entire surface of the eye. The eye shield is made of lead and shaped like a contact lens. It prevents the radiation from entering and damaging your eye.

Having radiotherapy treatment to your eyelid

We will give local anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eye so you cannot feel the eye shield. It may sting a bit when we put in the first drop but your eye will soon become numb.

The radiographer (the health profession who gives you radiotherapy treatment) will then place the shield over your eye. When the shield is in the correct place, we position the radiotherapy treatment machine over your eyelid. The treatment can then start.

You will only need to wear the eye shield while you are having the treatment each day.

When the radiotherapy has finished, the radiographer will gently remove the eye shield.

After the treatment

When your radiotherapy treatment has finished, the eye shield will be removed. The radiographer will put 2 or 3 drops of an antibiotic medicine into your treated eye. This will help to prevent infection.

We will give you another sachet to take home with you. Please store this in your fridge.

After 6 hours, you need to put 2 more drops into the treated eye.

You will need to wear an eye patch over the treated eye for about 4 hours. This protects your eye from dust until the numbness wears off.

You must not drive after treatment or when wearing your eye patch.

Resource number: 2729/VER7
Date published: November 2023
Review date: November 2026

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about your radiotherapy, please contact the radiotherapy department

Phone: 020 7188 7188 and enter extension 57542 or 57569

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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