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Eye Angiogram

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 camera.gif.

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.

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

Why It Is Done

An eye angiogram is done to:

  • Confirm the presence of abnormal blood vessels in or under the retina.
  • Check for and locate leaking blood vessels in the retina, especially if you have symptoms that suggest damage to or swelling of the retina, such as blurred or distorted vision. This is often caused by diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration.
  • Help find inflammation or tumors in the eye.
  • Locate the precise areas of the retina that need treatment prior to laser eye surgery.
  • Help find blockage in the blood vessels that feed or drain blood from the retina (retinal arteries and veins).

How To Prepare

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 you:

  • Have ever had an allergic reaction to X-ray contrast materials, iodine (which is present in indocyanine green dye), fluorescein, or dilating eyedrops.
  • Have a history of glaucoma, including closed-angle glaucoma. You may need to delay doses of certain eyedrops until after the test. The doctor also may not use dilating eyedrops or may use different eyedrops before the test.
  • Are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
  • Are or might be pregnant or are breast-feeding. Most doctors discourage the use of this test during pregnancy, especially during the first 3 months, and while a woman is breast-feeding.

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:

  • Your vision may be blurred for up to 12 hours.
  • You should not drive until the effects of the dilating eyedrops wear off. Arrange for someone to drive you home.
  • You should wear sunglasses until your pupils camera.gif return to normal size. Bright light and sunshine may hurt your eyes.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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