Reasons, Procedure & Results Interpretation of Fluorescein Angiography

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Reasons for Fluorescein Angiography

A fluorescein angiogram is a procedure that is performed to check the circulation of blood through the eye. This is also a procedure that is performed on patients with suspected diabetic retinopathy. The human eyes are heavily endowed with blood vessels in the corneal region. Therefore, most problems related to circulation to the eye can be figured out by simply injecting a dye into the blood stream and shining a special light onto the eyeballs. The angiogram comes into the picture here because the images that are taken and recorded are time-lapsed pictures of the movement of the dye through the blood vessels of the dye. A retinal fluorescein angiography is not a procedure that is completely devoid of risks. The dye called sodium fluorescein is a toxic substance that can immediately alter the pH balance in the blood. This will cause a lot of nausea immediately. Some people are even prone to getting the hives when this substance is injected into the blood stream. There have even been some cases of sudden death after injections of the dye but these are quite rare normally.


A fluorescein angiography procedure is performed by an ophthalmologist along with another doctor like a surgeon being close by to monitor for side-effects to the dye. The dye is then injected into the body via the hand or upper arm. A special camera and lamp are used for this procedure. The lamp emits a blue light and the camera is sensitized to only capture yellow light. This procedure does not require any film as only one wavelength of light is being captured.

Results Interpretation

Fluorescein angiography interpretation of results is quite complicated. In the first place, if there is some kind of fluorescence from the eye without the dye being injected, it is the sign of some kind of serious problem. If this is not the case, there are two things to look out for: too much fluorescence and too little florescence. Too much is usually an indication of some kind of some kind of leakage of capillary fluids, pooling of blood, and an abnormal growth of the blood vessels in the eye. If there is too little fluorescence, the obvious candidate for further investigation is some kind of blockage within the circulation of the eye.  Some of the other problems that are related with pooling of blood include diabetic retinopathy and some kind of edema of the optic disc.