Dr. Alexander Mamourian of Penn State Health has seen various metal objects obscuring MRI screenings since 1983. Now, with magnetic eyelash sales rising, radiologists should start asking patients whether their faux eyelashes are magnetic because they’re not only obstructive but dangerous, a study he co-authored suggests.
In a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, researchers used two randomly selected magnetic eyelashes and attached them to nylon strings on a “phantom”—used to evaluate the performance of imaging devices—and performed numerous MRI scans. The lashes created a large “artifact,” 7-by-6 centimeters, losing significant information in a region as small as the eye. An artifact is a feature that appears in an image that’s not seen in the object being scanned.
“We weren’t surprised that the artifact was substantial but were surprised they were pulled off the phantom,” Mamourian said, speculating that could be a “painful” or “hazardous” experience for the patient. The lashes, which work by sandwiching the wearer’s real lashes between magnetic strips, could be pulled off a patient wearing them during a scan.