Certain polymer gels become turbid on exposure to ionizing radiation, a property exploited in medical dosimetry to produce three-dimensional dose maps for radiotherapy. These maps can be read using optical computed tomography (CT). A test phantom of complex shape ("layered tube") was developed to investigate the optical properties of polymer gel dosimeters when read using optical CT. Extinction coefficient profiles from tomographically reconstructed slices of the phantom exhibited several artifacts. A simple model invoking scattered light in the gel was able to account for all artifacts, which in a real dosimeter may have been mistaken for other phenomena, resulting in incorrect readings of dose.