Fluorescein angiography (FA) is a diagnostic imaging test to study the circulation of the retina and choroid. This test can illuminate the blood vessels in the back of the eye and allow your doctor to get a better view of arteries and veins and blood flow in the retina. A contrast dye travels through the body and lights up the blood vessels inside the eye. Photographs are then taken of the back of the eyes using a special camera. Fluorescein dye tests are used to confirm a diagnosis, monitor changes, or assist in determining treatment for variety of eye conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and central serous retinopathy.
An FA takes about 15 minutes and is a fairly easy procedure. After your eyes are dilated, the photographer will position you in the headrest of the camera in preparation for the photos. The photographer will then inject the fluorescein dye into a vein in your arm or hand. Once the dye is injected, pictures are taken of the dye passing through the blood vessels of the eye. The testing will last 5-10 minutes with the technician taking photos throughout. It is recommended you drink water and stay hydrated before the test to aid in dye injection and flow.
Potential side effects include:
- Skin discoloration lasting several hours (yellow, orange)
- Light sensitivity due to dilation of the eyes
- Urine discoloration lasting several hours (yellow, orange)
It is generally safe procedure but does carry some slight risks including the risk of an allergic reaction. This may result in hives or itchy skin. Very rarely, a person may have trouble breathing or other serious problems. Our doctor and staff are prepared for any problems that could occur and can treat allergic reactions with pills or shots.
Upon completion, the doctor will discuss the results with you and explain how the test results relate to your retinal condition. These pictures can help the doctor determine which blood vessels are functioning normally and which are not, tracking changes over time and giving a more precise picture of where treatment is needed. These pictures may also shed light on other systemic conditions that may be affecting you and your eyes. Fluorescein angiography is an important tool that our physicians use to determine exactly the right treatment that is unique to you. If you’d like to talk with us regarding this or anything about your upcoming appointment, please call us at 616 954-2020.