An angiogram may be recommended by your Ophthalmologist if any irregularities of the retina are discovered at your consultation. The photographs can then help your specialist make a diagnosis. Ongoing angiograms may also be performed for certain eye diseases to monitor any changes over a period of time.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects millions of people and gradually destroys the sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. Angiograms are important for showing any leaking blood vessels in the macula and can show up any small leaks that could not otherwise be detected.

Angiograms are also beneficial in discovering any leaking blood vessels in the eye associated to Diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. Regular eye checks are needed for diabetics, and angiograms can show the Ophthalmologist the exact location of any leaks so that they can perform laser treatment to stop the bleeding.

Two different dyes can be injected into the vein: Fluorescein or Indocyanine Green (ICG).

  • Fluorescein Angiography:
    Most angiograms are done using the Fluorescein dye. Your skin will turn yellow for several hours after the Fluorescein dye is injected. The dye will be flushed out of the system through your urine, which can be a very orange colour for up to 24 hours; drinking water will flush out the dye faster.

  • Indocyanine Green (ICG) Angiography:
    The Indocyanine Green (ICG) angiogram Is a similar but less frequently performed investigation. An ICG angiogram can sometimes locate abnormal choroidal vessels better than a fluorescein angiogram however an ICG is not recommended for patients with an allergy to iodine.

What should I expect?

Digital cameras are used to take photographs of the eye. The advantages of using a digital camera are that only half the amount of dye is required for the angiogram reducing the adverse affects associated with the dye.

Sometimes the cannula used to inject the dye into the arm can damage a fragile vein and can cause burning and yellowing of the skin around the injection point. This usually only lasts a very short time and the yellowing on the skin will go away after a few days.

When the dye is injected into the vein, some patients experience nausea. This passes after a few seconds. Allergic reactions to the dye are rare. Rashes or skin irritations are treated with oral or injected antihistamines. Reactions of blood pressure falling are extremely rare.

Fluorescein is reported to be safe in pregnancy, but we prefer to avoid this test in pregnant patients where possible. Please advise the staff prior to the test being commenced if you are or suspect you may be pregnant. If you have any questions please ask prior to the test.


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