Fluorescein and ICG Angiography
Whether you suspect a retinal condition or are already living with one, regular retinal imaging plays a crucial role in the diagnostic and monitoring processes. Retinal imaging, along with regular dilated eye exams, is vital for timely diagnosis and treatment initiation. During your retina exam, two key diagnostic measures are typically employed: fundus photographs and fluorescein angiography.
Fundus photographs are color images of the retina. This involves using a high-magnification camera to view the posterior part of the eye, including related parts, such as the vitreous (the clear gel filling the eye) and retinal blood vessels. With fundus photos, your retina specialist has a valuable tool to study the back of the eye. They’re also particularly helpful for patients with chronic retina eye problems, as they document the eye for future reference.
An Overview of Fluorescein Angiography
A diagnostic technique, fluorescein angiography involves taking photographs of your retinal vascular system. With this technique, your arm is injected with a yellow dye, which then makes its way to your eye’s blood vessels. Retina specialists use these images to identify and observe abnormalities affecting the retinal blood vessels. Fluorescein angiography is an effective diagnostic option for managing several conditions, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal artery and vein occlusions.
An Overview of ICG Angiography
In some cases, retinal patients may undergo a different type of angiography known as Indocyanine Green Angiography (ICG). While similar to a fluorescein angiogram, this diagnostic method instead employs a green dye, called indocyanine, rather than a yellow dye. The green dye is circulated through your bloodstream to photograph internal retinal structures.
ICG has another feature not offered by fluorescein angiogram – when it is exposed to infrared light, the green dye lights up, helping to provide an improved view of the retina’s deeper blood vessels and any leakage, which could be otherwise difficult to identify on the fluorescein angiogram.
What the Fluorescein Angiogram Process Entails
A fluorescein angiogram, which takes about 45 minutes to complete, is designed to study the retina’s blood flow, vessels, and tissues. This diagnostic method utilizes the combination of a fluorescent dye and rapid-sequence photography. You will first have the fluorescein dye injected into an arm vein. Next, 30-60 photos will be taken, as the dye passes through the retinal blood vessels. This process affords your ophthalmologist the ability to detect any disorders or concerns affecting any retinal portions or involved blood vessels.
Angiograms are an effective identification tool for irregular veins and arteries. You may find yourself undergoing repeat angiograms on subsequent visits. This frequent testing is beneficial when it comes to evaluating your response to treatment and determining the need, if any, for additional treatments.
Are There Any Side Effects With Fluorescein Angiography?
While fluorescein is widely recognized as a safe and established dye for medical purposes, it is important to note that, as an injected medication, there are potential risks involved. For example, allergic reactions and nausea, although relatively rare, are among the potential adverse effects that may occur.
Unlike the dyes used for computerized tomography (CT) scans, heart angiograms, and kidney studies, fluorescein dye is free of iodine. People with iodine allergies can safely handle fluorescein injection, as this technique has been found to dramatically lower the risks of related allergic reactions or kidney issues. In addition, because fluorescein angiography uses photography, rather than X-rays, you don’t have to worry about radiation exposure.
What Should I Expect After a Fluorescein Angiogram?
After the administration of this testing, you can expect haziness within your field of vision. Additionally, as there may be accompanying, multiple bright flashes of light, this diminished vision may last for a period of several hours. Another potential side effect may be your skin taking on an orange-brown tinge for several hours after the fluorescein dye’s application. Gradually, this dye will pass into your urine, which may have a bright green color for the following 24 hours.
Advanced Retinal Diagnostic Care in Illinois and Indiana
Illinois Retina Associates is a leading retina-only ophthalmology practice in the Midwest devoted to diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of retinal, macular, and vitreoretinal. When you or a loved one visit our retina centers, rest assured that our experienced retina specialists and surgeons will develop a personalized treatment plan to ensure your recovery. Contact one of our 12 convenient locations today to schedule a consultation.