Fluorescein Angiography

Fluorescein Angiography

Fluorescein angiography is an eye test. It is done to look at the back of the eyes. This includes the blood vessels, the retina (including the macula), and the optic nerve. This can diagnose diseases of these areas, or diseases that affect these areas. To do this test, dye called fluorescein is injected into your arm. The dye goes into the bloodstream and up into the blood vessels of the eyes. A special camera is then used to take images (angiograms) of the eyes.

A fluorescein angiogram of the retina

Let the Healthcare Provider Know

For your safety, tell the healthcare provider if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

  • Have a history of severe allergic reactions, including to any medication

  • Have kidney problems

Before the Test

  • Follow any instructions given by the healthcare provider. 

  • You may wish to arrange for an adult family member or friend to drive you home after the test. Your vision will be blurry for up to 12 hours.

During the Test

  • You are given eye drops to dilate your pupils.

  • You then sit in front of a special camera. You place your chin on the chin rest and look into the camera.

  • Images are taken of your eyes, one eye at a time.

  • Fluorescein dye is then injected into your arm. The lights in the room are turned off. You may have mild nausea and a warm sensation in your arm or upper body. Tell the healthcare provider if your skin feels itchy or if you are having trouble breathing. If so, you could be having an allergic reaction to the dye.

  • More pictures of your eyes are taken over 15-30 minutes. The camera shines a bright light into the eyes. Try to keep your head still and your eyes open.

  • When enough images have been taken, the test is over.

After the Test

Your vision will be blurry for up to 4-12 hours. This is because of the dilated pupils. Your eye will be more sensitive to light for up to 12 hours. You may wish to wear sunglasses during this time. Do not drive if your vision is very blurry. You may also find it uncomfortable to read. Your skin may look yellow for several hours from the dye. Your urine will be bright yellow or orange for 24 to 48 hours after the test.

Risks and Possible Complications of Fluorescein Angiography

  • Nausea and vomiting 

  • Leakage of dye around injection site that causes pain and swelling

  • Metallic taste in mouth

  • Infection at injection site

  • Allergic reaction to the dye

  • Dry mouth or extra salivation

  • Increased heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Lower back pain