A Fluorescein Angiogram (FA) or Intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (IVF) is a diagnostic test that is used to study the retinal blood vessels and circulation of blood in the retina. Fluorescein Angiography is a valuable test that provides valuable information about many eye diseases including Diabetic Retinopathy, Macular Degeneration, Retinal Vascular Disease such as Retinal Artery Occlusion and Retinal Vein Occlusion, as well as other types of Macular Disease.
Prior to beginning the study, your pupils will be dilated. The Fluorescein Angiography study is performed by injecting a sodium-based dye, called Sodium Fluorescein, into an arm vein. During the injection, there can be a warm feeling or a hot flush. This only lasts seconds and then disappears. The dye appears in the retinal blood vessels within about 10-15 seconds. As the dye travels through the retinal blood vessels, an ophthalmic photographer or technician takes a series of photographs of the Retina with a special high-speed retinal camera. Capturing the photographs takes about 6-10 minutes.
If there are any abnormalities, the dye will usually reveal them by leaking, staining, or by its inability to get through blocked blood vessels. A Retinal Specialist will look for any abnormalities by identifying areas that exhibit hypofluorescence (darkness) or hyperfluorescence (brightness). These are descriptive terms that refer to the relative brightness of fluorescence in comparison with a normal retinal angiography study. Although statistically very rare, mild to severe adverse reactions to the intravenous dye have been reported. Our staff will review the potential risks and complications of Fluorescein Angiography with you and answer all of your questions prior to your study.