Fluorescein angiography

What is Fluorescein Angiography?

Fluorescein angiography is an imaging test used to examine the blood vessels and blood flow within the eye. This diagnostic test involves the rapid IV injection of a fluorescent dye and then taking a series of digital color photographs of the interior of the eye. The fluorescent dye reveals the condition of the blood vessels underneath the retina and helps doctors to detect and diagnose a range of eye conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other forms of eye disease.

Preparation for Fluorescein Angiography Test

Before getting a fluorescein angiography test done, you will likely need to provide your doctor with information about your medical history and your medications. You may also be asked to fast for several hours before the test. In some cases, the doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications or limit alcohol consumption before the test.

Procedure for Fluorescein Angiography Test

The procedure for fluorescein angiography generally consists of the following steps:

  • At the start of the procedure, eye drops are used to dilate the pupils.
  • A fluorescent dye is injected through an IV. The dye travels inside the bloodstream and eventually reaches the eyes.
  • A special camera is used to take a series of photographs of the inside of the eyes.
  • The fluorescent dye helps to reveal any abnormalities within the blood vessels of the retina.
  • Once the dye is injected and the pictures are taken, the patient is then asked to move the eyes in different directions to get better views.
  • Finally, the doctor reviews the images and interprets the results.

Types of Fluorescein Angiography

  • Indocyanine green angiography: This type of angiography uses a different fluorescent dye to examine the smaller blood vessels around the retina and optic nerve.
  • Fluorescein angiography of the choroid: This type of angiography selectively assesses the amount of light reflected from RPE layers and choroidal blood vessels to examine choroidal neovascularization, age-related macular degeneration, pathologic myopia and central serous chorioretinopathy.

Risks of Fluorescein Angiography

There are a few risks associated with a fluorescein angiography test including reactions to the dye, damage to the retina, and a rare risk of eye infection. The dye can sometimes cause an allergic reaction that may cause itching, nausea, and skin rash.

Why is Fluorescein Angiography Performed?

Fluorescein angiography is used to diagnose certain eye conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other conditions such as vasculitis or vein occlusions. In addition, fluorescein angiography can be used to monitor the progress of retinal and choroidal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration.

When is Fluorescein Angiography Performed?

Fluorescein angiography is usually performed when a doctor needs to diagnose an eye condition, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or a vein occlusion. It can also be used to monitor changes in the eye due to an ongoing eye condition. In some cases, it can be used to detect glaucoma or to assess the success of corrective lens surgery.