Back to all body parts

Eye Orbits MRI Scan from £199

A comprehensive MRI scan of the eye orbit is used to evaluate masses either within the globe or behind the eye,
complex infections, optic neuritis or causes of vision loss, and thyroid ophthalmopathy.

Book now

Introduction: The Importance of Eye Health

The ability to see clearly is fundamental to interacting with our surroundings, but changes in vision or eye pain can indicate serious health issues. Whether it's sudden vision loss, persistent blurriness, or discomfort, these symptoms necessitate thorough investigation. This guide delves into the specifics of Orbit MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans, a crucial tool in diagnosing a variety of ocular and orbital conditions.

What is an Orbit MRI Scan?

An Orbit MRI scan focuses on the eye sockets (orbits), including the eyes and surrounding structures. This type of scan is particularly useful for identifying abnormalities related to the eye, optic nerves, and the bony orbit itself. Using strong magnetic fields and radio waves, MRI scans produce detailed images that help clinicians diagnose underlying issues accurately.

Anatomy of the Orbit

The orbital cavity, more commonly known as the orbit, houses the eye and its auxiliary structures:

  • Bones: The orbit is formed by seven bones – frontal, sphenoid, maxillary, zygomatic, palatine, ethmoid, and lacrimal.
  • Muscles: Six extraocular muscles (superior, inferior, medial, and lateral rectus; superior and inferior oblique) facilitate eye movement.
  • Optic Nerve: Transmits visual information from the retina to the brain.
  • Soft Tissues: Include fat and connective tissues that cushion and support the eye.

Diagnostic Capabilities of an Orbit MRI

An Orbit MRI scan is adept at providing a comprehensive view of:

  • Optic Nerves: Checking for signs of inflammation, such as optic neuritis, which can be an early indicator of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
  • Eye Muscles: Assessing thickening or abnormalities that may point to thyroid eye disease or other muscle disorders.
  • Blood Vessels: Identifying vascular issues or malformations.
  • Tumors: Detecting growths within the orbit that could compress or damage vision.
  • Fractures and Hemorrhages: Especially after trauma to the orbital area.

Why is an Orbit MRI Performed?

Doctors may recommend an orbit MRI if there are symptoms that suggest neurological issues, severe eye disorders, or after traumatic injury to the orbit. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Visual disturbances: Blurred vision, double vision, or complete loss of sight.
  • Pain: Persistent or severe discomfort around the eyes.
  • Physical changes: Protrusion of the eye, changes in eye movement, or new asymmetry in the eye's appearance.

What to Expect During an Orbit MRI Scan

  • Preparation: Patients are typically asked to remove all metallic objects and change into a hospital gown. Loose-fitting clothing without metal fasteners may be permitted.
  • Contrast Agent: In some cases, a contrast dye is injected to enhance the clarity of the MRI images, particularly for evaluating blood vessels and detecting tumors.
  • During the Scan: You will lie on a movable table that slides into the MRI machine. A coil may be placed around your head to improve image quality. The process is painless, but the machine can produce loud noises, for which you might be offered earplugs.
  • Duration: The scan itself usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes, although preparation and post-procedure processes add to this time.

Preparing for Your Orbit MRI Scan

  • Medical and Metal History: It’s crucial to inform the radiographer about any implants (e.g., pacemakers, cochlear implants), previous surgeries, or metal fragments in your body.
  • Allergies: Especially to contrast materials, if applicable.
  • Medications: Continue taking your medications unless instructed otherwise. If you are claustrophobic, you might be given a sedative to help you relax during the scan.

Post-Scan Procedure

After the scan, you can usually resume normal activities immediately unless you have been sedated. In such cases, arrange for someone to drive you home. The MRI images will be analyzed by a radiologist, and the results will be sent to your doctor who will discuss them with you and plan further treatment if necessary.

The Bottom Line

Understanding and addressing eye and orbital health issues promptly is crucial. An Orbit MRI provides invaluable insights that help in making a precise diagnosis, guiding effective treatment to prevent further complications. If you are experiencing symptoms that suggest orbital issues, consult your healthcare provider about the benefits of an MRI scan. For more information or to schedule an MRI, contact our clinic today. We are committed to providing quick and accurate diagnostic services to help you maintain optimal eye health.


Our expert clinical team will guide you through the process, with a 1-1 consultation, referral, and digital imaging report included in the price of your scan booking.