Flourescein Angiography

What is it? FA stands for fluorescein angiography. It’s a way of studying what is happening at the back of your eye. The blood in your body flows through tiny blood vessels. An FA helps a doctor see exactly where the blood vessels are in your eye, their size and any problems they might have.

 What does the word mean?

Flourescein is the name of the harmless yellow coloured dye that is used to highlight the vessels of the eye. Angiography is a word which describe the examination of the blood vessels once the die has been circulated. It originates from the Greek words ‘angio’ meaning ‘vessel’ and ‘graphy’ which means to write or record something.

What is it?

A Flourescein Angiography is a tool for examining the back of the eye. It can record where the blood vessels are in your eye, their size and any problems affecting them. First, a vein in your arm is injected with a special dye which then travels round your body. Pictures are taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in your eye.

Flourescein Angiography

What happens during the test?

You will first have your vision checked and afterwards be given eye drops to make your pupils dilate. Local anaesthetic cream will be applied to your arm and a small amount of a the yellow dye, fluorescein, will be injected into your blood through a vein in your arm.  This dye will circulate around the body and eventually pass through the blood vessels in your retina. At this point the medical photographer will take a very quick series of photographs of your eye, which will then be shown to a doctor so that they can make a diagnosis.

Why do I have to have one?

An FA helps the doctor make a diagnosis. A diagnosis means studying a problem, then making a decision based on what you have learnt. If the FA shows that the vessels at the back of your eye are swollen or have something else wrong with them, the doctor can then decide how best to help you.

What does it offer?

A Flourescein Angiography will highlight any abnormalities such as blood leaking from the vessels or swelling on the back of the eye. It will also show which area of the eye needs to be treated and to record the eye condition at the time of examination.

What will happen after?

You probably won’t have any unpleasant side effects from an FA, but you should stay at the hospital for at least half an hour afterwards just to make sure. Some people do feel a bit sick or itchy. The important thing is to drink plenty of water to help flush the yellow dye out of your body.

If you feel unwell after you have left you should go to the nearest hospital and let them know.

Any trouble spots?

Most people do not experience any unpleasant side effects from a Fluorescein Angiography. Your skin and urine will go slightly yellow and this may last for up to 24 hours. Drinking plenty of water afterwards will help flush the dye out of your system more quickly.

Occasionally nausea or sickness may be experienced.  Some people feel itching or tingling, which can be treated immediately with an antihistamine. It is best to stay in the hospital for at least 30 minutes following the procedure, just in case you have any usual delayed reactions to it.

If you feel unwell after you have left you should return to the hospital or your local A&E

Last updated: 20th November 2017