An eye angiogram uses fluorescein dye and a camera to take pictures
and evaluate the blood flow through the vessels in the back of the eye (retina).
See a picture of the
structures of the eye.
During an eye angiogram, the dye is injected
into a vein in your arm. Once injected, it takes about 10 to 15 seconds to
circulate through your body. As the dye enters the blood vessels in your eyes,
a series of photos are taken to chart the dye's progress. More pictures are
taken after most of the dye has passed through your eyes to see if any of it
has leaked out of the blood vessels. Any dye that leaks out of the blood
vessels will color the tissues and fluid in the eye. Filters in the camera
allow the areas colored by the dye to show up in the photos.
angiogram procedures, an eye angiogram is not an
X-ray procedure, so you are not exposed to any
An eye angiogram is done to:
If you wear contact lenses, remove them
before the test. After the test, do not put soft contact lenses back in your
eyes for at least 4 hours because the contacts may become stained from the dye
used for the test.
Before the test, tell your doctor if
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding
the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may
mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
After the test:
An eye angiogram is done in a hospital
or doctor's office by an
Before the test, the
doctor uses drops to widen, or dilate, your pupils. You will be seated in a
chair facing the camera. You should loosen or remove any restrictive clothing
around your neck. You will be asked to place your chin on a chin rest and your
forehead against a bar to stabilize your head. Keep your teeth closed, open
your eyes as widely as you can, and stare straight ahead while breathing and
blinking normally. A few photographs will be taken.
IV needle is then placed in a vein in your arm and the
dye is injected. Once injected, it takes about 10 to 15 seconds for the dye to
be visible in the blood vessels in your eyes.
As the dye enters
the eyes, the doctor takes a rapid series of photos for a few minutes. The
photos show the dye's progress through the blood vessels in your eyes. The dye
makes the blood vessels show up clearly in the photos. More photos are taken
after most of the dye has passed through the eyes to see whether any of the
blood vessels are leaking the dye. If dye leaks out of a blood vessel, it will
color the surrounding tissue and fluid in the eye.
usually takes about 30 minutes, unless additional photos are needed. If more
photos are needed, you will rest for 20 minutes before 5 to 10 more photos are
taken. Photos can be taken up to 1 hour after an injection.
When fluorescein dye is injected into
your arm, you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth, mild nausea, and a
brief sensation of warmth.
After the test, your skin, the whites
of your eyes, and your urine may be bright yellow or orange, but these effects
wear off in 24 to 48 hours.
Because of the dilating eyedrops,
your vision may be blurred, and your eyes may be sensitive to light for up to
12 hours. Avoid bright light and sunshine. Wear dark glasses when you go
While the fluorescein dye is injected, you may
become nauseated and feel flushed. These symptoms pass quickly.
Some people are allergic to the dye. Tell your doctor if you feel lightheaded, need to vomit, or have
hives after the dye is injected. Very rarely, a person may have a serious allergic
reaction (anaphylaxis) and need emergency care.
leaks out of the vein around the injection site may cause pain and may injure
The dye may pose a risk to a
fetus. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about
eye angiogram uses fluorescein or indocyanine dye and
a camera to take pictures and evaluate the blood flow through the vessels in
the back of the eye (retina).
This test takes
about 30 minutes. Your doctor can usually review the results soon after.
Many conditions can change eye angiogram results. Your
doctor will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation to
your symptoms and past health.
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
June 9, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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