Fluorescence angiography is a medical procedure that can be used to visualize the vessels of the retina. Read all about it!


The fluorescein is a medical procedure that can be used to represent the retinal vessels. This provides information about a variety of diseases. Read all about fluorescence angiography, when to perform it, what its risks are, and what to look for.

Product Overview


  • What is fluorescence angiography?

  • When do you perform fluorescence angiography?

  • What do you do with fluorescence angiography?

  • What are the risks of fluorescence angiography?

  • What do I have to consider after fluorescence angiography?

What is fluorescence angiography?

Fluorescence angiography is a method of imaging the vessels of the retina (retina). It uses a fluorescent substance (fluorescein or indocyanine green) as a contrast agent. If the contrast agent is injected into a vein, it spreads in all vessels and flows into the retinal vessels after 10 to 15 seconds. If you now illuminate the eye with short-wave, blue light, the dye lights up. The distribution of the dye in the eye is detected using a camera.

Since the dye is initially only in the arteries and later in the veins, it is possible by temporally staggered images capture the different vessel sections (so-called pre-arterial, arterial, arteriovenous and venous phases).

The distribution of the dye in the vessels can provide information about various eye diseases. There are two different findings:

  • Hyperfluorescence: The dye shines more strongly than normal
  • Hypofluorescence: The dye is weaker than normal

When do you perform fluorescence angiography?

Fluorescence angiography can be used to assess the blood supply to the retina, a check-up that is used for various diseases.

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus)
Long-standing diabetes mellitus can destroy the small vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy). This complication is a common cause of blindness, so regular eye check-ups for diabetics are very important.

Circulatory disorders of the eye vessels
Angiography also helps to clarify a possible circulatory problem: Eye or eye vessels can become blocked by blood clots, for example - permanent blindness can be the result. Fluorescence angiography can help diagnose this condition.

macular degeneration
In macular degeneration, not the entire retina is damaged, but mainly a specific area. This is called macula lutea or "yellow spot". This is a round, approximately five millimeters large area in the center of the retina, which stands out from its environment by a special density of light sensory cells yellowish. In old age, this area can atrophy - even here, blindness can be the result. Fluorescence angiography clearly diagnoses macular degeneration.

In certain cases fluorescence angiography should not be performed:

  • Renal impairment (renal insufficiency)
  • pregnancy
  • Breast removal (mastectomy)
  • Operation on the lymph nodes of the armpit

For these diseases, the examination is important

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • macular degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

What do you do with fluorescence angiography?

Before the examination, the ophthalmologist takes a normal picture of the retinal vessels for comparison. He then injects the dye into the arm vein. To improve the view of the vessels, the pupil is maximally set wide with special eye drops (mydriasis).

After injection of the contrast agent, retinal recordings are taken at various times (between five seconds and 25 minutes). The examination is completely painless.

More about the symptoms

  • blurred vision
  • scotoma

What are the risks of fluorescein angiography?

Fluorescein angiography is a safe examination procedure in which severe side effects are rare. A common consequence is a discoloration of the skin and urine by the dye. This harmless color reaction disappears by itself within a day. Some patients may experience dizziness, nausea, or vomiting soon after spraying the contrast agent.

Very rarely is a severe allergic reaction to the contrast agent, which can lead to respiratory arrest. For this reason, appropriate emergency medications are always available.

What do I have to consider after fluorescein angiography?

After a fluorescein angiography, the eyes can be more sensitive to light for a few hours than usual due to the dilated position of the pupils. In addition, central vision deteriorates and you are not allowed to drive at this time. The fluorescein is a fast-acting and low-complication examination that can provide important information about various eye diseases.

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