How good should your eyesight be for rays?

Discussion in 'Radiology' started by 204534, May 18, 2008.

  1. Looking for opinions from residents, please help! How good does your eyesight need to be for Radiology? I have spent hours in the Radiology room and so far I can always see what is pointed out to me. However, I have a corneal disease, have required transplants in the past. I see pretty poorly at a distance and am very bothered by glare and sunlight. (love being in the dark room). What do you do as a Radiologist once your eyesight starts to go? Anybody out there who works in this field and does not have 20/20 vision?
     
  2. hans19

    hans19 I'm back...
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    Although you don't need 20/20 uncorrected vision, we rely on heavily on vision to make findings. Radiologists with declining vision retire if they are old enough, or if they are still young they could file for disability.

    On the one hand its good that you can make findings in the reading room, but could this change if you require another corneal transplant, of if god forbid if you had complications. I would consult with your corneal surgeon to get the details about your prognosis.
    The second thing - I would look into disability policies, if you have a preexisting condition, they you may not be eligible for disability benefits if your vision declined. Carefully examine disability plans.
    If you are serious about radiology once you finish training you could try to focus on modalities with lower spatial resolution like nuclear medicine in case your vision were to change.

    With all that said, if you know that you have poor vision that may continue to decline, then radiology may not be the best field for you.
     
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  3. Thanks, my corrected vision is probably almost 20/20 in a dark room about 20/40 or worse out in the real world because of glare. I suppose disability insurances have exclusions for pre-existing conditions though. I will have to fall in love with something else seems like. Rats.
     
  4. judu

    judu inner game first
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    20/20 vision can mean a lot of things. if i were in your shoes, i would probably talk to your opthalmologist to get his 2 cents before making a final call. ie. what's the prognosis/natural course of the illness you have, can you expect to have any impairment of night vision, etc.
     
  5. Thanks for the comments. I have asked my local radiologists and my ophthalmologists but felt posting here might get me more blunt answers, especially about the requirements of fine pixel resolution. People tend to not want to sqaush dreams face to face. I'm analytical, rather gather the facts then make my decision of the risks I'm willing to take.
     
  6. judu

    judu inner game first
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    i guess what i'm trying to say is: how could we comment realistically without knowing more information? either way, good luck.
     
  7. Thanks for all the comments. Anybody can share any quantitative data? Pixel resolution? Seriously, how crisp and clear does one need to see? Seems breast calcifications can be but a pinprick, which if not with crisp resolution it might be missed/misinterpreted? I know it is hard to answer this one, but if anybody out there does not have 20/20 corrected vision and is doing well with Rads, I'd love to know!
     
  8. fun8stuff

    fun8stuff *hiding from patients*
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    You will find that you will only be able to gain so information about your prognosis. Statistics will only tell you so much. You will never be certain. The best you will do is to talk with a specialist and demand an honest answer, but no one is going to be able to tell you with 100% certainty what the future holds for you.
     
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  9. judu

    judu inner game first
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    correct me if i'm wrong, but i'm pretty sure you can't do rads if you don't have 20/20 corrected vision
     
  10. eddieberetta

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    There is no requirement for a vision test in radiology or any other medical specialty AFAIK, but most medical boards require you indicate if you have any medical condition which could interfere with your ability to practice your specialty. Medical ethics and licensing bodies mandate that you not perform any medical task in which a medical condition makes you unsafe.

    To the OP, you have a challenging situation. It is very likely that you could practice all or most areas of radiology safely at the present, however in my opinion you will always be second guessing yourself as to whether your vision impairement might be degrading your performance. You asked about resolution: Most X-sectional imaging studies (CT, MR) is on the order of mm resolution. Nukes is in the range of 2-5 mm resolution. (however the images are displayed in a small format, so 1 mm on the screen or film will correspond to perhaps 5-10 mm on the patient) Radiography and mammography is sub mm (fine breast calcs in the range of 0.1-0.5 mm), and mammo probably the most demanding in that the morphology of those small calcifications determines their risk of malignancy.

    The situation will be similar for pathology and surgical specialties. It goes without saying that if your condition were to become known during a malpractice lawsuit etc, it would be highly damaging.

    For these reasons, althought you could probably do it, I think you will be able to rest easier in a non-imaging, nonsurgical (medical) specialty. Since you like radiology, something like neurology where you see a lot of patients and their scans (but are not responsible to interpret the scans) may be ideal. Good luck.

    Addendum: There are ways to measure your visual system's spatial and contrast resolution. These tests can be performed by your opthalmologist. THis may also help you decide.
     
    #10 eddieberetta, Jun 16, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  11. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. You have been extremely helpful and thoughtful. :)
     
  12. Strength&Speed

    Strength&Speed Need more speed......
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    I know someone who I believe had 20/40 corrected....if he gets close to the screen may be closer to 20/20. anyway, doesn't have problems of any sort to my knowledge. but i would heed the advice of the posters above. particularly malpractice and disability insurance.
     
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  13. Reine

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    Hi...
    Currently a high school student trying to poke at different aspects of med to see if it's something she really wants to do, and this one topic is a really interesting one.

    I think Radiology is pretty interesting, but I have pretty bad eyesight. Will this be a major disadvantage for me, if I choose to not have it corrected (laser-wise? I use glasses...) and still choose to go into this field (and make it in)?
     
  14. radslooking

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    I dont think this would be an issue unless your eyesight is terrible, even with corrective lenses.
     
  15. Here is what I've learned, and I've asked a whole lot of people. As long as your vision is able to be corrected you are fine. Some people may advise to hold off on lasik- there can be a risk of developing glare, so you are better off with plain glasses. Make sure you get it done from a very reputable person if you decide to go ahead. My other piece of advice: Try to shadow a radiologist for an entire day- see how your eyes feel. My situation is different than yours- my vision is not bad, but it can't be corrected to 20/20. However, most radiologists I've worked with have encouraged me to go ahead and tell me it is all about pattern recognition more so than a visual exam. I've decided that I just will not feel comfortable with that so I'm not going into Radiology. You have many years ahaead to change your mind multiple times. Good for you that you are thinking ahead so far in advance.
     
  16. FunkyR

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    Visual acuity is important in any specialty.... what's more important in radiology is your grey contrast resolution. You can get this tested via an optometrist or ophthalomogist. If you have poor grey contrast resolution you're going to have a hard time in radiology as the basics of our work is discerning differences between different shades of grey.
     
  17. schan

    schan radRounds.com CoFounder
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    Surgeon has his hands...
    Internist has his brains...
    Pathologist, Dermatologist, Radiologist has his eyes...

    Take care of your vision as it is your livelihood!! I think it is one of the most important things in radiology but rarely talked about in training and as a profession.
     
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