Fluorescein Angiography

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What is a fluorescein angiogram?

This is a photographic test of the retina at the back of the eye. A yellow dye called fluorescein is injected into a vein in the arm and then photographs are taken of the retina, using a special camera, as the dye passes through the eye circulation. Any abnormal, damaged or leaking blood vessels are shown up by the dye.

Why do I have to have this test?
You have been found to have damage to the retina which may require treatment. This test will help the doctor to find the cause of the damage, assess the severity and decide if treatment is necessary.

How long does it take?
You will have your pupils dilated with eye drops before the test; these take about half an hour to work. The test itself takes less than 15 minutes, but you should allow an hour from your appointment time.

How is it done?
You sit upright in front of the retinal camera. The doctor inserts a needle into a vein in your arm and injects some salt water to check that the needle is correctly sited. The camera is lined up and when everything is ready, the room is darkened and the dye is injected. Photographs are taken every few seconds for a couple of minutes, so there are repeated bright flashes.

Are there any side effects?
Some people feel a little sick for a few seconds just after the dye has been injected. Allergic reactions are very rare but anti-allergy drugs are always ready just in case. The dye stains the whole body
yellow for a few hours so you may look as if you had jaundice. The dye is eliminated in the urine which turns a brilliant fluorescent yellow when it mixes with the water in the toilet. This is harmless, but it will interfere with your urine test results so it is best not to do any tests until you are back to normal. Drinking plenty of fluids will help to clear the dye faster. If you go to a party or disco where there is an ultra-violet light after the test, your skin will glow!

Are there any special precautions?
On the day of the test you should take your medicines and meals as usual. If you have regular eye drops, ask the doctor whether you should use them on the day. You should not drive until the effect of the dilating eye drops has worn off.

When will I get the result?
Sometimes the doctor can tell you the result at once, but usually you will be given an appointment to come back in a few weeks when the photographs have been developed.

Any questions?
Please leave a message on our answerphone and a Nurse will call you back 01908 995523.

Need to cancel your appointment?
Please call 01908 997001.

Cancellation of appointment
If you are unable to keep your appointment please let us know in good time so that we can use it for someone else. Telephone 01908 997001.