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Fluorescein Angiography   Explanation Page

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How the Test is Performed:

Eye drops that make the pupil dilate  are administered.  The chin is placed on a chin rest and the forehead against a support bar to keep the head still during the test.

Color photographs of the fundus (in
many modern practices these photos are taken with a digital camera and viewed on a computer) are taken before the dye is injected. After the pictures are taken, a vein is located, usually on the top of one of the hands or in the elbow(also called "antecubital" vein), and the dye is injected.

When the dye is injected, a series of rapid photographs are taken. After the dye has been injected, the needle is removed a bandage is placed over the injection site and pressure applied to the injection site for several minutes, during which time the patient will usually receive a break between photo sets. ***In
my experience as a photographer, photos are usually spaced out in increments of three minutes, up to twelve minutes for a complete test. The length of the procedure will vary, depending on the doctor ordering the test.

Photographs may also be taken 20 minutes and 1 hour after the injection. This is usually the case of an extended angiogram or when Indocyanine Green angiography is ordered.

Because of the drops administered to dilate the pupils, your vision may be blurred up to 12 hours after the test.  You must sign an informed consent form. You must remove contact lenses before the test. ***Tell the doctor or photographer if you have a hypersensitive reaction to iodine.

How it Feels:

When the needle is inserted, a small amount of pain or stinging is usually felt. When the dye is injected, mild nausea and a warm or cool sensation may be experienced. These symptoms are usually very brief, usually passing after the first minute.


There is a slight chance of infection any time the skin is broken. Common "side effects" of the dye include nausea and dry mouth or increased salivation.

Rarely, a person is hypersensitive to the dye and may experience: increased heart rate, feeling light headed or feeling faint, sneezing and itching.


Why your doctor might order a fluorescein angiogram:

This test is useful in determining if there is proper circulation in the retinal vessels. It can also be performed to diagnose or follow treatment of problems in the eye. Some conditions for which this test is performed include but are not limited to :

  • Macular Degeneration

  • Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Retinitis Pigmentosa

  • Retinal Vein Occlusion

  • Retinal Detachment

  • Central Serous Retinopathy

  • Stargarts Disease

  • Macular Edema

  • * Note* Patients with cataracts may have less "obvious" or "clear" test results because of the difficulty seeing the fundus through the cataract.

I hope this explanation will help you understand this procedure a little better! Thank You.

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