What is fluorescein angiography?
Fluorescein angiography is a photographic test of the retina (the membrane lining at the back of your eye).
Your eyes will be dilated with drops and once dilated a water soluble dye called fluorescein will be injected
into your arm or hand. The fluorescein travels through your body and photographs are taken of the retina as it
passes through blood vessels. It reaches the eye in 30 to 40 seconds.
Why is fluorescein angiography performed?
Fluorescein angiography is used to diagnose certain eye conditions such as macula degeneration and diabetic
retinopathy and may have to be performed in order to provide information of a diagnostic nature or determine
if treatment is possible and the location of the disease.
What actually happens?
Eye drops will be instilled usually in both eyes to enlarge your pupils. A small needle is then inserted into
your hand or arm and the dye is injected. A series of photos are then taken. The whole procedure lasts
approximately 15 minutes.
What are the side effects and risks in having fluorescein angiography?
Severe reactions to this test are fortunately rare.
The most severe reaction is called anaphylaxis which is rare but can be life threatening. Some patients
experience flushing and nausea which normally passes within seconds and occasionally vomiting.
Occasionally patients suffer a skin rash which may be irritating. This should gradually reduce and can be
treated with antihistamines.
Your skin may appear yellow for several hours but this will fade as the dye is filtered out by the kidneys. Your
urine may be a yellow/orange colour as this happens.
Prior to having this test it is important that you make the medical staff aware if you have had:
fluorescein angiography in the past and any problems
what medications you are currently taking
This information will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
Fluorescein angiography is generally avoided in patients known to be pregnant. Please inform the medical team if you think you may be pregnant.
Due to the eyes being dilated you are advised not to drive for 2 hours and you
should be accompanied by a support person.