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Fundus Fluorescein Angiography (FFA) is a diagnostic photographic procedure of the back of your eye that is performed to give your retinal specialist more information about its condition.

A small amount of yellow fluorescein dye will be injected into a vein in your arm which travels around your body highlighting blood vessels. This results in a detailed view of the back of your eye, which helps to inform your treatment plan. Unlike X-Rays, there is no exposure to radiation during this test.

The Retina Clinic London is unique in having access to the latest Ultra-wide field Fundus Fluorescein Angiography imaging technology which allows for your consultant to view up to 200 degrees of your retina at once. This technology also combines with OCT to allow for any fluorescent or abnormal areas on the scans to be instantly imaged and correlated with the angiographic findings. This allows for a more accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of your condition, ensuring that any prescribed treatments and therapies are adequate and effective. 

What Happens During My Fundus Fluorescein Angiography Appointment?

The nurse will do a series of checks such as measuring your blood pressure, ensuring you are not driving after your appointment as dilating drops will be instilled into your eyes leaving your vision blurry for up to 6 hours. The process for fully dilated eyes can take upto 30 minutes especially in those with dark irises.

A nurse will ask you to sit in front of the Optos Ultra-Widefield Imgaing machine and the Anaesthetist will insert a cannula into the vein of your arm to inject a contrast dye. Simultaneously this dye will enter the blood vessels within your eye allowing lots of images to be captured to assess the integrity of the retina and perfusion. The test itself takes about 15 minutes. You will experience bright flashing lights throughout the examination.

Prof. Stanga will then review your scan results and discuss them with you at your next appointment.

Possible Side Effects

Following the dye injection, your skin will have a slight yellow tinge (similar to having a suntan) and your urine will turn bright yellow for approximately 24 hours. This is normal and nothing to be worried about. You should drink plenty of water to flush the dye out of your system and to remain hydrated.

Some of the other more common side effects (affecting approximately 5 people out of a 100) include:

Feeling nauseous or being sick – this usually occurs in the first 1–2 minutes after you are given the injection and, in most cases, it passes within seconds. Taking deep breaths often helps. It is vital that you let us know if you have any allergies or if you have had an unexpected reaction to fluorescein dye before. In order to minimise the chance of feeling nauseous or being sick, the anaesthetist will inject you with a dose of anti-sickness medication before the dye. 

A rash, itching or tingling sensation to your skin may occur very rarely: if the cannula in your arm becomes displaced and dye leaks into the surrounding skin, you may experience a warm sensation. If this happens, the anaesthetist will stop the injection and the sensation should resolve within a few days. We recommend the application of ice to the area of skin affected. 

Very rarely, people can have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the fluorescein dye causing breathing or circulatory difficulties. We are equipped to deal with this emergency.

What Happens after the Procedure?

You will be asked to stay in the clinic for a short while after the test so that you can be observed for any rare late side effects. The cannula will then be removed from your arm and a dressing will be applied before you go home. You will be able to remove the dressing yourself the next day.

As your pupils will still be dilated, your eyes are likely to be more sensitive to light, so you may wish to bring sunglasses.

We advise you to bring someone with you to help you get home after the procedure


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