Fluorescein Angiogram

Fluorescein angiography is a diagnostic procedure. A special camera is used to take a series of photographs of the retina, the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.

A special water-soluble dye (fluorescein) is injected into a vein in the arm. The dye travels through the veins and into the arteries, which circulate throughout the body.

As the dye passes through the blood vessels of the retina, a special camera flashes a blue light into the eye and takes multiple photographs of the retina.

If the blood vessels are abnormal, the dye may leak into the retina or stain the blood vessels. Damage to the lining underneath the retina or the appearance of abnormal new blood vessels growing beneath the retina may also be revealed. The precise location of these abnormalities may be determined by a careful interpretation of the fluorescein angiogram.

Why is a Fluorescein Angiogram done?

Diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in patients under the age of 55, can cause the blood vessels of the retina to leak fluid or blood. In some cases, these abnormalities can be treated with laser to help prevent loss of vision.

Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in patients over the age of 55. In some cases, small blood vessels can be seen under the retina, which can be treated with a laser in an attempt to prevent severe visual loss.

What does the procedure involve?

Your pupils will be dilated. YOU CANNOT DRIVE AFTER THE PROCEDURE. You will be at the office for approximately 1 ½ hours.

Prior to having the procedure you will be required to read and sign a consent form. If you have any questions, please ask them before signing this consent form.

What are the risks of fluorescein Angiography?

After the fluorescein dye is injected, your skin may turn yellowish for several hours. This colour disappears as the dye is filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Because the kidneys remove the dye, your urine will turn dark orange for up to 24 hours following the test.

A few individuals may experience slight nausea during the procedure, but this usually passes within a few second. If the dye leaks out of a fragile vein during the injection, localised burning and yellow staining of the skin may occur. This burning usually lasts only a few minutes and the staining will go away in a few days.

Allergic reactions to fluorescein dye are rare. If they occur, they may cause a skin rash and itching. This is usually treated with oral or injectable antihistamines, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Very rarely (1 in 220,000), a sudden life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.

This condition requires emergency medical treatment.
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Suite 15, Mater Medical Centre
76 Willetts Road
Mackay QLD 4740


(07) 4942 3301


(07) 4942 9815
Fig 1. Images from a fluorescein angiogram.
Image - Results from a Fluorescein Angiogram
Fig 2. Photo of a fluoroscein angiogram procedure.
Image - Fluorescein Angiogram Procedure


The information provided here is for general education only and should not be construed as individual medical advice. For advice relevant to your particular situation, please speak to Dr Hornsby.