Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and computed tomography (CT) are routinely performed with the use of contrast materials in the diagnosis of neuro-ophthalmologic disease. Iodinated agents are commonly used in CT scanning and femoral contrast arteriography, and gadolinium is used in MR imaging. While contrast materials contribute greatly to diagnostic accuracy, they may also be responsible for adverse effects, ranging in severity from mild discomfort to death. The most frequent and severe side effects are associated with ionic iodinated contrast agents, while the rate of adverse reactions is less with use of nonionic iodinated contrast agents. Side effects and adverse reactions to gadolinium are uncommon, but they do occur. In neuro-ophthalmologic diagnosis, MR imaging is generally preferred over CT scanning, partly because of its greater ability to delineate soft tissue intracranial structures, but also because of the relative safety of gadolinium as a contrast agent. Properties of contrast agents are discussed in the context of specific imaging techniques and tissues investigated. Types and severity of adverse effects as well as risk factors for incurring such effects are summarized. (C) 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-253
Number of pages17
JournalSurvey of Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Adverse effects
  • Computed tomography
  • Contrast agents
  • Gadolinium
  • Imaging studies
  • Iodinated contrast agents
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuroimaging
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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