Fluorescein angiography is an important technique used when first diagnosing eye diseases that affect the retina. It is routinely used to diagnose age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and diabetic macular oedema (DME).
What happens when you have fluorescein angiography?
 

Fluorescein angiography involves having an injection of dye into one of your veins (usually your arm) before scanning equipment takes a series of time-lapse photographs of the back of your eye. You will also be given eye drops to dilate your pupils.
The dye used in fluorescein angiography is a fluorescent substance that passes through your blood circulation, including through the blood vessels in the retina.
 

Photographs taken between one and 10 minutes after the injection can follow the passage of the dye through those blood vessels, revealing any problems such as abnormal blood vessel growth, or blood leakage at the back of your eye.

  • In the first one to two minutes, the images produced by fluorescein angiography show how the dye passes through the arteries that supply your retina.
  • In the next three minutes, the photographs taken show how the dye moves through the main retinal veins.
  • In the last phase, after about six  minutes, the dye shows up in the tiniest blood vessels in the retina.

Fluorescein angiography is particularly useful for diagnosing:

  • Wet age-related macular degeneration.
  • Retinal vein occlusion, including branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO).
  • Diabetic macular oedema.
  • Choroidal neovascularisation – the abnormal growth of new blood vessels through the retina that can occur in several retinal diseases.