Cherenkov Emissions: Scientists Capture Light Flashes from Human Eye During Radiotherapy

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A group of scientists at Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) in Lebanon, United States, have explained a query related to an unusual happening.

While undergoing radiotherapy during cancer treatment, patients had experienced a bizarre phenomenon. A lot of them reported seeing flashes of light in front of their eyes during the treatment.

These flashes were also reported when the eyes of patients were closed.

Recently, scientists at NCCC have been able to capture the phenomenon on camera.

They have termed it as Cherenkov Emissions or Cherenkov Radiation.

According to a study, this 'visual sensations' occur due to the presence of light inside the eye. The study was published in Medical Physics.

Science Alert reported that similar effect causes nuclear reactors to glow blue when they are underwater.

Science Direct describes further about the phenomenon, stating that when the radiation beam passes through the clear gel of the eye, it creates a faint emission that lasts for a fraction of a second.

Irwin Tendler, a biomedical engineer at Dartmouth College, told Science Alert, “Our newest data is exciting because, for the first time, light emission from the eye of a patient undergoing radiotherapy was captured. This data is also the first instance of evidence directly supporting that there is enough light produced inside the eye to cause a visual sensation and that this light resembles Cherenkov emission.”