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Warning: Eye Safety and MRI's


I think that I am really careful to protect my eyes in the studio,
but listen to what happend.

Scary, I went for an MRI. They ask if you have any metal components
in your body, or have gotten metal fragments in your eyes. I told
them I was a metalsmith so they insisted on having my eyes x-rayed
first. The MRI can pull ferreous metal out of your eyes.

They x-rayed me twice. They were shocked, as I was, to find that they
found metal fragments that I do not even feel, in one of my eyes. The
MRI was cancelled and a follow up CAT SCAN for my eyes, has been


Good luck with the metal pieces in your eye. In most instances, they
can just stay there and cause no problem.

There is a very low incidence of eye injury from an MRI. In part
because they screen for eye injuries before doing the tests. Only
material which would be attracted by the magnet presents very much
risk and in almost all instances this would show up on x-ray. Actual
injuries are rare. In fact, both MRI and CAT are used to locate
foreign bodies in the eye and, depending on the location, strong
magnets are used to remove iron and steel from the eye.


It can also pull the metal out of tatoos that used metal based inks
talk about ouch.

be very very careful…the metal dust that can enter our eyes through
vents on the saftey glasses are of greatest concern

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry


I had to have an MRI recently and went through a similar experience.
As soon as I mentioned that I work with metal, they sent me off to
x-ray first. Fortunately, my eyes were clear of any metal fragments.
But for a few minutes I was quite afraid of what they might find.
What can they do about the fragments in your eyes?

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry


Oh my goodness, Jerell. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I hope you
are okay. How big are these fragments?

Thanks for the reminder.



I read your MRI story with a great deal of interest. I have had two
MRI’s in the past few years, (bad back, a few years apart. In both
cases, the technicians asked if I worked with metal. In both cases,
I told them that “yes I did”, and I explained what I do for a living.
In both cases, the techs were totally flummoxed, and didn’t know
what to do. No one ever asked anyone higher up what to do either.
When they acted as though they didn’t believe me, I reiterated and
explained my profession further. No one did an x-ray, no one seemed
all that concerned and I had both MRI’s without incidence. Little
did I know what was possible. Yikes!!! Thanks for the story. Hope
your eyes are ok.

Lisa, (off to Miami for three days tomorrow for more malarkey on my
father’s estate. Geeeez, this dang estate is taking forever! 3.5
years and counting. I am hating this!!)TOpanga, CA USA


Most likely the issue with ferrous and non-ferrous materials. Of
course many of us make our own tool and maintain the ones we have
(especially in the case of silversmithing and chassing) and gad
knows where the dust ends up when filing/polishing a steel stake that
got nicked by a hammer blow.

David Woolley
Fredericton, NB


Relax friends, it would be HIGHLY unlikely for any of you to have
magnetic foreign bodies INSIDE your eyes risking damage from an MRI.
The bits of shop dust and debris, aggravating as they are, almost
never become imbedded. Almost all metallic particles that might be
dangerous become symptomatic and are diagnosed soon after being
introduced-consider them shrapnel! There is one exception; in 1976-7
a series of after cataract lens implants came into use which had
platinum wire attachment devices. They became obsolete rather
quickly and disappeared from the supply chain. At this point I should
think that almost all patients who received these lenses have passed
on to the great workbench in the sky.

In our current liability atmosphere, of course, there is a powerful
incentive for physicians and facilities to explore each and every
conceivable risk factor. This is one of the MANY, MANY reasons for
our out-of-control healthcare costs.

Regards to all,

Dr. Mac


I was told that as long as I worked with non-ferrous metals, there
was no problem with taking an MRI. I have had several, and nothing
untoward has happened.



Hi Folks…

I worked with GE Healthcare a few years back (then GE Medical) to
set up the standard for their lockout padlocks and lockouts used
around their equipment during maintenance, including their MRI
equipment, Worldwide…

It’s an interesting experience, dealing with Safety, Sourcing, and
Purchasing folks, as well as getting input/feedback from the
Users… Toss in an Engineer or three, just to make things
interesting… All at the same time…

The MRI equipment can generate magnetic fields that are a quantum
jump or two above of what most folks think a magnetic field is…

There’s stories of wrenches flying across rooms, and other
interesting tales…(in the old days, that is)…

That padlock standard is a totally brass padlock, and an entirely
aluminum lockout… In fact they were subjected to a whatif under
some unimaginable GE lab thing to see if they possibly could
magnetize…under some weird conditions…despite what normal
physics and chemistry says…

And they passed…

Sold them lotsa padlocks and lockouts once we got them speced out,

So…the primary concern is any kind of ferrous metal being
present, mainly…

I don’t know how they feel about titanium (sometimes used for bone

I suspect they’d be jumpy about any kind of stainless steel…

Still… think it’s a good idea to clue them if you’re into
metalworking of any kind…or have any plates or pins or anything…

Gary W. Bourbonais


When doing something that is going to create tiny bits of metal
flying everywhere, I’ve found that the best and cheapest solution is
to buy one of those clear plastic face shields that flip and down and
fit on your head sort of like an Opti-Visor. I think mine was less
than ten bucks. Unless you’re creating abstract sculpture (please
don’t), I don’t think any metal will penetrate it.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055


This website has pertinent scientific and cites studies
prior to its 2004 publish date. The parts
about eyes and tattoos are down a ways. It sounds like concern is
warranted only in unusual and specific circumstances.

Dana Carlson


Titanium-at least the surgical sort, does not seem to concern the
MRI techs. Having been recently titanium improved (?) myself, I can
still undergo MRI’s. Still have to worry about metal, although not
so much as other contaminants. Best idea is to be very, very, very
safety minded.

Happy creating. 0.05 cents

Eileen Schneegas
Snow Goose Designs


G’day I agree with those folk who use a full-face transparent
plastic shield, for it can be used with spectacles and loups But
unless it is made of a very hard to scratch plastic like ABS, I
suggest you protect the face shield itself by taping a piece a piece
of thin Mylar sheet to it. This is sold for overhead projectors at
good stationers and is very cheap. Simply throw it away and set up a
new one if it gets scratched or a bit obscure. A piece of cling
plastic film will also work at a pinch, but is not nearly as good and
won’t last very long to be of much use.

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua, Nelson NZ