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November 16, 1984

The Appropriate Use of Diagnostic ImagingAvoidance of the Red Goggle Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Radiology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, Calif (Dr Palmer) and McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario (Dr Cockshott).

JAMA. 1984;252(19):2753-2754. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350190055021

THE "RED GOGGLE" syndrome is named after the red goggles that were used for dark adaptation in the prevideo era of radiology. The clinical syndrome is well known to radiologists, but not as yet well recognized by clinicians.

Such a definition is half humorous but, sadly, also half serious—serious because in whatever form it is seen, the syndrome results in much unnecessary expenditure on health care and, in diagnostic radiology departments, in excess radiation.

The radiologist in red goggles preparing for fluoroscopy should have disappeared from hospitals in North America. Much else has also changed. X-ray films are no longer processed by hand, there is much better image quality, yet less radiation is needed. Ultrasound has altered obstetrical knowledge and practice, interventional radiology is contributing to treatment, computed tomography (CT) has taken radiology toward tissue differentiation, and now magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography permit the study of tissue