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Retinal Imaging

How It Feels

The tests themselves don't cause pain or discomfort. For some tests, very bright light may shine in your eye.

If your eyes have been dilated, they will be very sensitive to light for several hours. Your vision may be a little blurry.

The dye used in an angiogram may cause a metallic taste in your mouth. You may also have mild nausea and a brief feeling of warmth. Your urine may be orange for a day or two.


In some people, the dilating eyedrops can cause an allergic reaction.

The dye used in an angiogram may upset your stomach. You may feel flushed. These symptoms pass quickly. If you're pregnant, talk to your doctor about possible risks to your baby.

Some people are allergic to the dye. Tell your doctor if you feel lightheaded, need to vomit, or feel itchy after the dye is injected. Very rarely, a person may have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and need emergency care.


The pictures from retinal imaging tests help your doctor look for problems and decide on treatment.

Retinal imaging

The retina looks healthy.

  • There is a mole, cyst, or some other problem on the back of the eye.
  • There are blocked or leaking blood vessels in the eye.
  • The layer of nerves called the retinal nerve fiber layer is injured or getting thin.
  • There are changes in the natural coloring of the back of the eye.

What Affects the Test

You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:

  • You have cataracts.
  • The dilating drops don't widen your pupils enough.
  • You aren't able to keep your eyes wide open and to stare straight ahead during the test.
  • You aren't able to hold still during the test.

What To Think About

The dyes used in angiograms can be passed on through breast milk. This means that moms will need to stop breast-feeding for a day or two after the test. Use a breast pump to empty your breasts and get rid of the milk until it's safe to start breast-feeding again.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
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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