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X-rays for your eyes!

Dear all, this is very important!

I had to have an MRI two weeks ago at 2:00 A.M. up here in Toronto,
Canada. The waiting line is over 6 months long, really. Well my turn
came up and at the prescribed hour I was asked some very detailed
questions, my age and my occupation…do work with metals?..yes, I
am a diamond setter. Sorry I need an x-ray of your eyes before we
can let you in! Why? If YOU have any particles of alloy or gold
dust, no matter how small the strong magnet will literally pull them
out of your Retina and Cornea and make you blind in seconds…! The
next week I had to run around this city and prepare a set of x-rays
for the lab technician to study if any particles were
present…there were none to be seen under close scrutiny. So at
5:00 a.m. last Saturday morning I had my MRI and I am making this
story for all to know and understand…that if anyone is working
with any bench-grinder or casting equipment…WEAR GLASSES or a
full face mask that covers your face and eyes.

Don’t feel macho and go without ! These are your “tools of the
trade” as much as your metal tools are…Its not for now, but one
day you too may need an MRI and you might very well be
prevented…“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!”

Hello Gerry,

I hope the results from the MRI were OK, and that you will not have
any problems.

My question of the greater Orchid body is how attractive to a magnet
are gold and silver alloys? I recognize that the tools and abrasives
might give off iron particles, so maybe that’s the concern. BUT are
the precious metal alloys even remotely attracted to a magnet?

This inquiring mind wants to know, Judy in Kansas, where it’s about
to get cold enough to freeze, ummm, some unmentionables, and birds
eat the suet cakes quickly.


I find it amazing that any amount of magnetism would affect gold or
silver. Are you sure these people have any grasp of the difference
between magnetic and non-magnetic elements?


Gerry and all,

That’s a standard question to be asked prior to having an MRI of the
head. I would rather be asked and have to go through an additional
xray rather than suffering with the consequences!

For those of you having mammograms, do NOT use any deodorant or body
powder as it will also be picked up by the rays! You don’t want to be
called back for additional views that you could have initially

Education is powerful - be an informed patient!

Moonlight Creations
Southern Maine, USA

On the humorous side of this dilema, I too had an MRI and forgot to
take my earrings off. When the machine started making a horrible
buzzing sound I thought my brain was being fried between the two gold
earrings! Luckily, my head wasn’t actually in the machine.

The second time I had an MRI, I took my earrings off but forgot to
take off my bra and realized there were metal hooks in the back.
Before the machine had a chance to fry my “bazookas off” I signaled
for the nurse to let me remove it! (Sometimes my elevator doesn’t go
all the way up!) Amazing, since they found nothing wrong with me!

Virginia Vivier
Artes Primitiv
Tucson, AZ

Gerry, I can second you on that. I too had an MRI on Saturday. That
makes 3 since August. Not fun at all.


Thanks for the thumbs up, Gerald. This was a real eye opener!

Having had several MRI’s, much to my regret.

I have never know of any gold alloy to have any magnetic properties.
Cobalt Pt yes, but gold alloys? There was a bit of ignorance on the
part of someone here. They always asked me about steel partials
lodged anywhere in my body. (Something that I work with frequently
also.) Yes, there is some danger in everything we do, but medicine
has become paranoid to the extreme to all of our cost. How mush is
spent on unneeded tests based not in medicine, but to avoid the
lawyers is truly the question.

Mark Chapman

If you have a large magnetic field (which a MRI certainly is) either
being turned on and off or changing polarity then an electrical
current will be induced into ANY electrically conductive material.
The induced electrical current has its own magnetic field so that
the material will behave similar to a ferrous substance which has
its own permanent magnetic field.

If you hang a sheet of aluminium foil up by one corner and move an
extremely strong magnet along it - like the modern "rare earth"
magnets, the aluminium will actually try to keep pace with the
magnet due to the induced field. Neat to try!


It would seem that if no ferrous products are involved magnets would
not be attracted. I am not a metallurgist nor have I played one on

Actually, the concern is not one of ferromagnetic reaction, it’s
magnetic induction. When you place a conductive material in a
moving magnetic field, you get electrical current flow against the
resistance of the metal ( this produces heat, and is the principal
behind an induction furnace). For a very small amount of metal,
it’s more an annoyance than anything else. and unlikely to harm a
person, but a steady dose of this reaction is actually bad for the
extremely expensive machine.

(Jewelry hobbyist, but 22 years as an electrical technician)

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR

So what happens to my bridgework and dental implants?

I checked with my son-in-law who is a radiologist about x-rays prior
to doing an MRI.

He said that while it is true that silver and gold are not
magnetic, those who work with metal of any kind should have x-rays
because bits of the steel tools with which we work might be lodged in
our eyes. It is a very necessary precaution, as those steel bits, if
undetected and subject to an MRI, could indeed lead to severe damage
to the eyes, --even blindness.


I was wondering about the dental implants as well. Any one know ?

marilyn smith

if you go to have an MRI, you “must” remove any temporary
bridge-work before entering the tunnel like machine. as I did not
bracelets rings or necklaces…dental implants if porcelain & metal
were no bother to me…why? dunno!..gerry!

Hey Alma, thank you! someone believes me and I told you so!..:>)
YES, someone out there understands the problems of these steel
particles, we are in contact with them often…how? when WE are
sharpening our gravers (moi!) resharpening our soldering
picks!!!..its ain’t the gold or the alloys, it was the steel stuff
which we don’t put too much emphasis on…has anyone heard of full
face coverings??? I know it is too cumbersome, but I have already
taken one friend of mine to the E.R. to have his eyes washed. The
pain and agony is beyond belief, trust me!.

Again, hava great Christmas holyday to you all. WE ARE A
FAMILY!..Gerry Lewy!

I had an MRI one time when I had braces on my teeth, I did feel a
very slight tug, even though they said it was okay.


Maybe my little story with the eye doctor will enforce the need for
eye protection. In the early 90’s, I had a piece of steel in my eye
from using a grinding wheel, and it was microscopic. Nobody could see
it, and tried washing to no avail. In fact the saline solutions only
aggravated the matter, because the salt increased the rate of rust
that was going on with the piece. The day I went to see the eye
doctor, was the morning I woke up with a blinding headache and the
sun light was killing me. This was 4 days later. I figured it would
work its way out, but of course it didn’t, and it was now embedded
solidly in place. Not the smartest thing I have ever done, in fact it
was stupid.

Anyway, having my head positioned in a head mounting fixture :slight_smile: he
proceeded to examine my eye, and then told me he had to drill it
out. I thought, he must be joking right?, no such luck. He had to
drill, because now it was under the skin per say, remove the piece
with tweezers, and then drill again will a ball burr to clean out the

He gave me some eye drops to numb my eye, and about 10 minutes later
told me, don’t blink and look straight ahead. I’m thinking, easy for
you to say tough guy, it’s my butt on the line here. I stopped
blinking, then he told me not to move my eyes. 3 times he told me not
to move my eyes, but I kept watching and following that drill come
right in, very weird I can tell you. I told him I would rather be
outside wrestling a 500lb gorilla right now, than be sitting in that
chair. Anyway, having a drilling operation done to your eye, and
literally watching it being done, is not very pleasant to say the
least, and I would not wish it on anyone. I could have sworn, I had
clean underwear on when I went in :slight_smile:

Looking back, I can laugh at being in that chair and looking like a
cartoon figure, where the body is frozen stiff, the hair is sticking
right up, and the eyes are wiiiiide open and looking around, but in
reality, at the time, I would have given anything not to be in that

Best Regards.
Neil George

Some may indeed find it surprising, but be assured that under the
conditions employed for medical MRI scanning (magnetic resonance
imaging), any metallic item or particle will be pushed, pulled,
rotated, possibly heated, and maybe all of those at once. Any
metal, whether or not it is normally regarded as magnetic. MRI
conditions are totally different from just waving a pocket magnet
around. As well as having a rather stron magnetic field, the field
can vary rapidly over small distances. Further, there is a rapidly
pulsing radio wave.

To be frank, those at most danger are folk like die-grinders,
blademakers and blacksmiths, who do a lot of grinding of steel.
Depending on the exact location it is possible for small particles
to be embedded in the eye, without any real pain. Totally
avoidable, of course, by always wearing suitable safety eyewear.
Incidentally, I’m rather surprised that the technicians would allow
anyone into an MRI wearing earrings … just shows you have to look
out for yourself as well as trusting the experts!.. My very best
wishes for a healthy future to all on the list, and especially those
who’ve had to have scans.


    I had an MRI one time when I had braces on my teeth, I did
feel a very slight tug, even though they said it was okay. 

Eva, imagine that “slight tug” in your viscous eye membrane? No
wonder I was prevented from entering the MRI tunnel-like machine. My
eyes are more important then any setting tool…gerry!