Radiology experts warn of dangers when MR imaging patients with magnetic eyelashes

Radiology experts are warning their peers to watch out for patients possibly wearing magnetic false eyelashes, which could pose safety risks in the MRI suite.

Such cosmetic accessories—which either clamp on to the natural lash or connect to magnetic eyeliner applied to the lid—have gained popularity in recent years. However, they do not typically show up on MRI intake forms and may be difficult for technologists to notice, researchers wrote Saturday in the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics.

“Near the MRI scanner, the eyelashes can rapidly become a moving projectile as close as millimeters from the orbit of the eye and hence become a safety concern,” noted Cihat Eldeniz, PhD, an MR physicist with the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis, and colleagues. “In addition, even if they do not become a direct hazard to the patient, small ferromagnetic objects that get pulled into the MR system can remain there, or lodge within a receiving coil or accessory, potentially resulting in artifacts that may masquerade as pathology.”

To back their claims, Eldeniz and colleagues conducted deflection tests on six different eyelash brands using a 3-Tesla MR scanner from Siemens (also a co-investigator in the study). They skipped heating and torque testing, assuming the cosmetics would not remain in place on the subject.

With deflection angles clocking in at much larger than 45 degrees, the results confirmed that ferromagnetic eyelashes are “MR unsafe,” the team concluded. Meaning, patients should not wear them before entering Zone 3, the space prior to the MRI scanner room. And heavier magnetic lashes will likely create a “larger projectile effect,” the team noted.

You can read more on the analysis here, and past coverage on the dangers of wearing magnetic eyelashes during imaging here.