Is a Fluorescein Angiography?
angiography is a medical procedure in which a fluorescent dye is
injected into the bloodstream. The dye highlights the blood vessels in the back
of the eye so they can be photographed.
This test is often used to manage eye disorders. Your doctor may
order it to confirm a diagnosis, determine an appropriate treatment, or monitor
the condition of the vessels in the back of your eye.
the Test Addresses
Your doctor may recommend a fluorescein angiography to determine
if the blood vessels in the back of your eye are getting adequate blood flow.
It can also be used to help your doctor diagnose eye disorders, such as macular
degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
Macular degeneration occurs in the macula, which is the part of the eye that allows you to focus on
fine detail. Sometimes, the disorder worsens so slowly that you may not notice
any change at all. In some people, it causes vision to deteriorate rapidly and
blindness in both eyes may occur.
Because the disease destroys your focused, central vision, it
prevents you from:
- seeing objects clearly
- watching television
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by long-term diabetes and results
in permanent damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye, or the retina.
The retina converts
images and light that enter the eye into signals, which are then transmitted to
the brain through the optic nerve.
There are two types of this disorder:
- non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which
occurs in the initial stages of the disease
- proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which
develops later and is more severe
Your doctor may also order fluorescein angiography to determine
if treatments for these eye disorders are working.
for the Test
You’ll need to arrange for someone to pick you up and drive you
home since your pupils will be dilated for up to 12 hours after the test.
Be sure to tell your doctor before the test about any
prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements you’re taking.
You should also tell your doctor if you’re allergic to iodine.
If you wear contact lenses, you’ll need to take them out before
Is the Test Administered?
Your doctor will perform the test by inserting standard dilation
eye drops into your eyes. These make your pupils dilate. They’ll then ask you
to rest your chin and forehead against the camera’s supports so that your head
remains still throughout the test.
Your doctor will then use the camera to take many pictures of
your inner eye. Once your doctor has completed the first batch of pictures, they’ll
give you a small injection into a vein in your arm. This injection contains a
dye called fluorescein. Your doctor will then continue to take pictures as the
fluorescein moves through the blood vessels into your retina.
Are the Risks of the Test?
The most common reaction is nausea and vomiting. You could also
experience dry mouth or increased salivation, increased heart rate, and
sneezing. In rare cases, you may have a serious allergic reaction, which can
include the following:
- swelling of the larynx
- difficulty breathing
- cardiac arrest
If you’re pregnant or think you may be, you should avoid having a
fluorescein angiography. The risks to an unborn fetus are not known.
If your eye is healthy, the blood vessels will have normal shape
and size. There will be no blockages or leaks in the vessels.
Abnormal results will reveal a leak or blockage in the blood
vessels. This may be due to:
- a circulatory problem
- diabetic retinopathy
- macular degeneration
- high blood pressure
- a tumor
- enlarged capillaries in the retina
- swelling of the optic disc
to Expect After the Test
Your pupils can remain dilated for up to 12 hours after the test
is performed. The fluorescein dye may also cause your urine to be darker and
orange for a few days.
Your doctor may have to order more lab tests and physical exams
before they’re able to give you a diagnosis.