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What Is Fluorescein Angiography?

Fluorescein angiography is a test to find out about the blood flow in your retina. It takes about 10 to 20 minutes. Photographers, who are experts in this area, take the pictures of your retina. It is not an x-ray. The doctor will be able to look at the pictures as soon as the test is done. 

The test is done with a special camera. Fluorescein, an orange-colored dye, glows when it is exposed to green light. It is injected into a vein in your arm. The dye travels through the body to the blood vessels in the eye in 10 to 20 seconds. Many pictures are taken as the dye moves through the blood vessels of the retina. The result is a set of pictures that show the doctor the blood flow in your eye.

What You Can Expect

After the test is over, you will find that your urine has changed to a bright yellow color. Fair-skinned persons may notice a yellow to orange color of the skin. Both color changes will go away as the dye leaves your body. It often takes less than 24 hours. There is no pain with these changes.

There are other feelings you may have. Some find the test tiresome because of the camera’s bright lights and the need to hold still in the chin rest. You may have slight pain and bruising at the injection site, much like having blood drawn for lab tests. Rarely, you will have a burning feeling if the dye leaks out under the skin. If this happens, you will be given an ice pack until the pain goes away. Some patients have nausea after the injection. It lasts only a few minutes in the early part of the test. Some patients have an allergic reaction such as hives, itching, or wheezing. If this happens, you will be given proper treatment.

Precautions

Pregnant or nursing women should avoid this dye.

Phone Numbers

Please let your nurse or doctor know if you have any problems either during the injection or in the day or so after the procedure. Please call if you have any problems or questions.

If you have any problems breathing or a severe allergic reaction, call 911.

University Station Eye Clinic, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (608) 263-7171.

When the clinic is closed, your call will be forwarded to the hospital paging operator. Ask for the “Eye Resident on Call”. Give the operator your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.

If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 and ask to be transferred to the above number.

Please call if you have any questions or concerns.