Fluorescein angiography is a diagnostic test routinely administered in the office to detect and better understand a variety of retinal disorders. A small amount of orange dye is injected into a vein in the patient’s arm. The dye travels throughout the blood vessels in the body including those in the eyes. A special camera and light flashes are used to image the dye as it passes through the eyes in order to detect changes involving the retinal blood vessels and the pigmented layer behind the retina. No radiation is used. The dye is in no way similar to contrast dye used in radiological testing.
Side effects of the dye include yellowing of the skin which lasts for several hours. The urine will also become more yellowish for a short time. Fewer than 5% of patients experience nausea which resolves within minutes. Skin itching and dizziness occur rarely. Serious reactions involving the heart or breathing difficulty are extremely rare. Your doctor will discuss the possibility of these reactions with you.