Fluorescein angiography (FA) is a procedure in which the ophthalmologist photographs your retina with a special camera. These images enable your ophthalmologist to see the blood vessels and other structures in the back of your eye more clearly.
What Is the Purpose of Fluorescein Angiography?
FA is often recommended for detecting and diagnosing eye diseases such as:
● Macular edema, swelling in the retina that distorts vision
● Diabetic retinopathy, when diabetes causes damage or abnormal blood vessels in the eye
● Macular degeneration, the wearing down of the macula
● BRVO or CRVO, blockage of veins inside the eye
● Macular pucker, wrinkle in the retina caused by a buildup of fluid behind it
● Ocular melanoma, an eye cancer that affects the eye
FA is often used in the following situations:
● track the progression of the ocular disease over time
● care areas to be targeted
What Is Fluorescein Angiography and How Is It Performed?
FA is normally performed in the office of your ophthalmologist. It usually takes under 30 minutes. Here is what is going to happen:
● Drops will be placed in your eyes by your ophthalmologist or an assistant to dilate (widen) your pupil.
● Fluorescein, a yellowish dye, is inserted into a vein, typically in the arm. The dye takes about 10–15 seconds to pass across your body. When the dye enters the eye’s blood vessels, it causes them to “fluoresce,” or glow brightly.
● A special camera takes pictures as the dye moves through the retina. These images aid your ophthalmologist in identifying any issues and determining where care should be focused.
Fluorescein Angiography: What Are the Risks and Side Effects?
Dilating eye drops can cause distorted vision or light sensitivity and can last for many hours. Be certain to:
● Carry your sunglasses to your consultation.
● After that, make someone drive you home because it would be unsafe for you to drive yourself.
Fluorescein angiography can also cause some side effects. Here are some things you might notice:
● Objects can appear dark or tinted when you look at them. This is a temporary side effect that goes away after a few minutes.
● It is possible that your skin would appear yellow. This occurs because the dye flows through all of the body’s veins. In a few hours, the skin will return to its natural color.
● For up to 24 hours afterward, the urine can appear orange or dark yellow. This is because the dye will be filtered out of your blood by your kidneys.
● If dye leaks during the injection, you can experience a mild burning feeling on your face. This is a temporary side effect that goes away after a few minutes.
There is a chance you will have an allergic reaction to the fluorescein dye, but it is unlikely. Hives or itchy skin can occur in people who are allergic to the dye. A person’s breathing or other serious problems can occur very rarely. An allergic reaction can be treated with pills or shots prescribed by your doctor.