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Fluorescein Angiography

Click here to find out the American Academy of Ophthalmology's view on fluorescein angiography.

What is fluorescein angiography?

Fluorescein angiography is a specialized imaging technique to take pictures of the blood vessels in the back of the eye. 

What is fluorescein angiography used for?

Fluorescein angiography is used to diagnose or determine the severity of many eye conditions including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, retinal artery occlusion, cystoid macular edema, tumors in the back of the eye, and swelling of the optic nerve.

How is fluorescein angiography performed?

A small amount of an orange-colored fluorescein dye is injected in a vein, usually in the arm. Within seconds, the dye travels to the blood vessels of the retina in the back of the eye and a special camera takes pictures of those vessels. 

What are common side effects and risks of fluorescein angiography?

  • The orange color of the dye may give an orange tint to your vision. This resolves in a few minutes. Similarly, your skin, especially around the injection site, may become orange which resolves in a few hours. Your urine may turn slightly orange or red for up to 24 hours as the dye is being cleared from your body.

  • If the dye leaks out of your veins under your skin you may feel pain at the site of injection. This should resolve in minutes to hours. Placing an ice pack over the area would help in this situation.

  • Rarely, a person may have an allergic reaction to the fluorescein dye and experience itching or hives. Very rarely, a patient may experience difficulty breathing or other serious allergic reactions. These conditions can be treated with pills or shots.

Fluorescein Angiography for Diabetic Retinopathy

Fluorescein Angiography for Diabetic Retinopathy

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