June 16, 2009

Study: Radiologists need vision standards

A U.S. study suggests radiologists, like pilots, should be required to undergo regular vision testing.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine research determined approximately 50 percent of 48 radiologists surveyed don't recall ever having their vision tested or it had been two years or longer since their last vision exam.

Of the 48 participating radiologists, eight could not recall ever having their vision examined, Dr. Nabile Safdar, lead author of the study, said. Fourteen of the participants reported that their last eye examinations were 24 months or more in the past. One radiologist even indicated it had been 15 years since his last eye examination.

Safdar said the visual acuity of the participants 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.

The study appears in the American Journal of Roentgenology.