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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Study Indicates Radiologists Need Standards to Ensure Optimal Visual Accuracy

June 9, 2009

Radiologists, like professional pilots for example, depend on good vision as part of their occupation. However, radiologists unlike pilots are not required to undergo regular vision testing. A new study found that approximately 50% of radiologists surveyed indicated they don’t recall ever having their vision tested or it had been 24 months or longer since their last vision exam.

The study, performed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, included 48 radiologists who opted to undergo a brief survey before undergoing visual acuity testing. “Of the 48 participating radiologists, eight could not recall ever having their vision examined,” said Nabile Safdar, MD, lead author of the study. “Fourteen of the participants reported that their last eye examinations were 24 months or more in the past. One radiologist even indicated that it had been 15 years since his last eye examination,” said Dr. Safdar. The visual acuity of the participants at any given measurement ranged from 20/30 to 20/10.

“Physicians and patients depend on the ability of radiologists to accurately discriminate findings and render appropriate diagnoses based on these findings,” he said.

“Although the variation we found in visual acuity among radiologists is unlikely to have an influence on clinical diagnostic performance, as radiologists, we may have a responsibility to our patients and ourselves””to make sure our vision is as good as possible. In the future, professional guidelines should be considered to ensure optimal visual accuracy,” said Dr. Safdar.

This study appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. For a copy of the full study, please contact Heather Curry via email at hcurry@arrs.org.

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