dye is injected into a vein in the arm. As it circulates through
blood vessels in the eye, a rapid series of photographs is taken
with a special camera. The camera uses a cobalt blue light to
intensify the yellow-green color produced by the dye in the blood
vessels of the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissues that
lines the back of the eye) and choroid (the layer of tissue behind
Purpose of the Test
To reveal fine
details of retinal circulation that are not visible with a routine
and evaluate a variety of eye diseases, including age-related
macular degeneration (AMD), a degenerative condition of the most
sensitive area of the retina, or macula; diabetic retinopathy,
deterioration of the retina resulting from diabetes; circulatory
or inflammatory disorders; and tumors.
To assist in
the planning of laser treatments for neovascular AMD, diabetic
retinopathy, and other disorders.
Who Performs It
of cataracts or blood in the vitreous (the jelly-like mass that
fills the cavity of the eyeball) may limit or preclude use of
fluorescein angiography because clear pictures cannot be obtained.
The procedure may be performed after cataracts are removed.
This test should
not be done in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to
fluorescein dye or dilating eye drops.
Before the Test
doctor if you have any allergies, use any medications, or have
another eye disorder such as glaucoma.
If you have
glaucoma, do not use any eye drop medication on the day of the
will administer eye drops to dilate your pupils. It may take
15 to 40 minutes to achieve maximum dilation.
What You Experience
You are asked
to place your head in a brace with a padded chin rest and forehead
bar. Keep your teeth together, focus your eyes straight ahead,
and breathe and blink normally.
photographs may be taken.
dye is injected into a vein in your arm. You may feel mild discomfort
and a feeling of warmth or nausea soon after the dye is injected.
As the dye
passes through the blood vessels in the back of your eye over
the next 30 to 60 seconds, a series of photographs is taken using
a special camera.
In some cases,
additional photographs may be taken as long as 30 minutes later.
The test usually
takes about 30 minutes.
Risks and Complications
or vomiting occurs in 2% to 4% of patients.
reactions to the fluorescein dye may produce hives or asthmatic
In rare cases,
a severe, potentially fatal allergic reaction may occur. Emergency
medications and equipment and trained personnel are present in
most facilities performing this test.
After the Test
pupils will remain dilated for three to four hours, arrange for
someone to drive you home. Your vision may remain blurred for
up to 12 hours.
dye may result in a harmless yellow discoloration of the skin
and urine for 24 to 48 hours.
or fluorescein may collect under the skin at the injection site;
this is harmless and resolves on its own. For a large hematoma
that causes swelling and discomfort, apply ice initially; after
24 hours, use warm, moist compresses to help dissolve the clotted
will examine the photographs for abnormalities, such as blood
vessel leakage or blockage, bleeding (hemorrhage), or new vessel
the results, the doctor will recommend an appropriate course
of treatment, if possible. You may be referred to a low vision
center for advice on measures to help you manage daily activities
with vision loss.
angiography cannot produce an adequate image of any abnormal
blood vessels, a similar procedure that uses a different dye,
called indocyanine green angiography, is sometimes performed.
From The Johns
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