What Is Fluorescein Angiography?

Fluorescein angiography is a diagnostic test that uses a special camera to take a series of photographs of the retina (at the back of the eye). A special water-soluble dye (FLUORESCEIN) is injected into the vein of the arm. The dye travels though the blood vessels of the body and then through the blood vessels of the retina. Drops will be used to dilate your pupils. A special camera flashes a blue light into the eye and takes multiple very bright flash photos of the retina as the blood passes through. It takes a little while for the vision to recover from the brightness of the flash, and about 2 hours for the drops to wear off. No fasting is required for this procedure.

The procedure is different to but often confused with an X-ray angiogram where an iodine dye is injected into a blood vessel and multiple X-rays are taken.

Why Is Fluorescein Angiography Done?

If after examining your eyes the ophthalmologist suspects abnormalities on or near the retina, fluorescein angiography may be recommended to diagnose certain eye conditions and plan treatment. Fluoroscein angiography may be repeated to monitor your response to treatment and changes in your eye condition.

What Are Risks And Problems Of Fluorescein Angiography?

The eye drops used during this procedure will blur your vision so you should not drive a car for at least 4 hours after a Fluorescein angiogram. After the dye is injected, your skin will turn yellowish for a few hours. This disappears as the dye is filtered out by the kidneys. This turns your urine dark orange for up to 24 hours.

Some individuals experience nausea during the procedure but this usually passes within a few seconds. Occasionally, dye may leak out of a fragile vein causing some localised burning and yellow staining of the skin. This burning usually passes in a few seconds and the skin staining in a few days.

**If the dye does leak it may stain your clothes. Wear clothes that are machine washable as the dye is water-soluble.

Allergic reactions to fluorescein dye are rare. The most common allergic reaction is a skin rash and itching. This is usually treated with oral or injected antihistamines. Severe (even life threatening) allergic responses are extremely rare.

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