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Fluorescein Angiography

 

The retina is a layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye.  The macula is located in the center of the retina and enables you to see fine details clearly.  You rely on your macula whenever you read, drive, or do other activities that require you to focus on fine details.

 

Fluorescein angiography, a clinical test to look at blood circulation inside the back of the eye, aids in the diagnosis of conditions of the retina associated with diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, and other eye abnormalities.  The test can also help follow the course of a disease and monitor its treatment.  It may be repeated on multiple occasions with no harm to the eye or body.

 

Fluorescein is an orange-red dye that is injected into a vein in the arm.  The dye travels through the body to the blood vessels in the retina.  A special camera with a green filter flashes a blue light into the eye and takes multiple photographs of the retina.  The technique uses digital camera equipment.  No X-rays or radiation are involved.

 

If there are abnormal blood vessels, the dye leaks into the retina or stains the blood vessels.  Damage to the lining of the retina or atypical new blood vessels may be revealed as well.  These abnormalities are determined by a careful interpretation of the photographs by an eye doctor.

 

The dye can discolor skin and urine until it is removed from the body by the kidneys.  There is little risk in having fluorescein angiography, though some people may have mild allergic reactions to the dye.  Severe allergic reactions have been reported but only very rarely.  Being allergic to X-ray dyes with iodine does not mean you will be allergic to fluorescein.  Occasionally, some of the dye leaks out of the vein at the injection site, causing a slight burning sensation that usually goes away quickly.

 

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