Radiology/MRI eye safety

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Question
Today, I had a brain MRI. When I had MRIs in the past, I always kept my eyes closed. However, today I kept my eyes open and as they rolled me in I looked directly into a red laser light and then a brighter white light. Once it registered to me that I was staring directly into a laser, I closed my eyes but it was too late. I looked directly at it for several seconds. Could I have done permanent damage to my eyes by looking directly into the light? I don't notice any major problem now but could I have vision problems in the future because of this experience? I live in Louisiana so this was not a procedure performed by your organization. But I need an honest answer about this since I am worried. I think it could be a laser used by the tech to make sure my head was lined up correctly but I do not know. Any discussion you could provide about what this laser is and what danger I am in for looking at would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Answer
Hello, Glen.

You can relax. I believe the lasers used in positioning for medical imaging are Class 1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_safety) which are safe "under all conditions of normal use."

Also see http://www.lasercomponents.com/us/application/positioning-of-patients/ which states, "The emissions produced by laser class 1 laser modules are harmless to the patient and are, therefore, often used."

Hope this helps,
Delia

Radiology

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Delia White

Expertise

I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.

Experience

I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

Education/Credentials
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

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