Fluorescein angiography

Fluorescein angiography is a diagnostic procedure, which uses a special camera to take a series of photographs of the retina, the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.

A special water soluble dye (fluorescein) is injected into an arm vein. The dye travels through the veins and into the arteries which circulate throughout the body. As the dye passes through the retinal blood vessels, a special camera flashes a blue light into the eye and takes multiple photographs of the retina. (This procedure does not use x-rays).

Fluorescein angiography is useful in evaluating diseases of the macula eg: age related degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular occlusions and tumors. The precise location of abnormalities can be determined by careful interpretation of the fluorescein angiogram by your ophthalmologist. Fluorescein agiography also provides a guide for laser treatment and may be used to follow the course of disease and monitor treatment results.


After the fluorescein dye is injected, your skin may turn yellowish for a few hours. The dye is removed from the body by the kidneys and so your urine will turn orange for up to 24 hours following the test.

If the dye leaks out of a fragile vein during the injection, some localized burning and yellow skin staining may occur. The burning usually lasts a few minutes and the straining will go away in a few days.

You will experience blurred vision and light sensitivity from the eye drops used to dilate your pupil. This lasts approximately 4 hours on average, you must have a driver.

A small number of individuals (less then 5%) may experience slight nausea during the procedure, but this passes within a few seconds. Allergic reactions to fluorescein dye are rare. If they occur, they may cause a skin rash and itching. This is usually treated with oral or injectable antihistamines. Depending on the severity of the symptoms. Even more rarely, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can occur.

You will be contacted by your ophthalmologist's office with the results of the test in approximately two weeks. The film results are not available immediately, as the film has to be processed, then interpreted.


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