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Digital Fluorescein Angiography

Fluorescein angiography is an extremely valuable test that provides information about the circulatory system and the condition of the back of the eye. The test is performed by injecting a special dye, called fluorescein, into a vein in the arm. In just seconds, the dye travels to the blood vessels inside the eye. A camera equipped with special filters that highlight the dye is used to photograph the fluorescein as it circulates though the blood vessels in the back of the eye. If there are any circulation problems, swelling, leaking or abnormal blood vessels, the dye and its patterns will reveal these in the photographs. Any dye that leaks out of the blood vessels will color the tissues and fluid in the eye. Dr. Fern can then make a determination as to the diagnosis, and possible treatment options.

Unlike other angiogram procedures, an eye angiogram is not an X-ray procedure, so you are not exposed to any radiation.

After the fluorescein dye is injected, your skin may turn yellowish for several hours. This color disappears as the kidneys filter the dye from your body. Because the dye is removed by the kidneys, your urine will turn dark orange for up to 24 hours following fluorescein angiography. Some individuals may experience slight nausea during the procedure, but this usually passes within a few seconds. If the dye leaks out of a fragile vein during the injection, some localized burning and yellow staining of the skin may occur. This burning usually lasts only a few minutes and the staining will go away in a few days. Allergic reactions to fluorescein dye are rare. If they occur, they may cause a skin rash and itching. This is usually treated with oral antihistamines, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Severe allergic reactions have been reported but very rarely.

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