What is a retinal angiogram?
An angiogram is a study of blood vessels in the eye. It is an extremely valuable test that provides information about the circulatory system and the condition of the back of the eye.
Why do I need to have one?
Angiograms are useful for detecting many diseases that affect the retina.
How is an angiogram done?
The test is performed by injecting dye into a vein in the arm. In seconds the dye travels to the blood vessels inside the eye. A camera equipped with a special filter is used to take photographs of the dye as it circulates through the back of the eye.
If there are any circulation problems, for example, swelling, abnormal or leaking blood vessels, the dye flow through the eye will reveal these in the photographs. The doctor can use the photographs to decide how to best treat your eyes.
What do I need to know before I come in?
- You could be in the clinic for up to three hours.
- Wear loose sleeved clothing.
- You can eat and drink prior to the angiogram, unless your doctor has told you not to.
- You should take all your medication prior to the angiogram, unless your doctor has told you not to.
- Bring someone with you.
- Bring a list of your current medications with you and any regular medications you need to take.
- You will not be able to drive after the procedure for up to four hours.
- Bring sunglasses to wear outside when you leave the hospital as your eyes will be sensitive to light.
On the Day
The Orthoptist will:
- Check your eyesight, general health, and ask about your current medications.
- Explain the procedure and the possible after effects of the test.
- Put drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils (it usually takes about 30 minutes for the pupils to dilate fully).
The doctor will then:
- Explain the procedure and check we have your written permission to perform the test.
- Prepare you for an injection of Fluorescein (orange dye) or ICG (green dye).
- Take a series of photos with different coloured light to show your eye before and after the dye passes through the eye. To get the best possible result, your eyelid may be held open.
- After a short rest, some final photos will be taken. This completes the test.
What happens after the test is done?
In order to ensure you do not have any side effects we ask you to stay 20 to 30 minutes after the test has been completed.
What are some of the common side effects I may get?
- Slight yellowish colour to the skin and eyes – may last between 24 to 48 hours.
- Bright yellow urine – may last between 24 to 48 hours.
- Temporary blurred vision – may last 1 to 3 hours
- On rare occasions you may have other side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and allergies. These will be discussed with you by your Doctor prior to commencing the test.
- If you do have a reaction, the staff in this area are trained to manage any reaction you may have. They will care for you until you are well enough to go home.