Retinal Angiography: Medical Imaging Techniques and How They Work By Dr. Parks on July 10, 2016

An image of the retinaRetinal imaging tests are crucial for assessing the health and condition of the retina and the blood vessels of the retina. These tests help with diagnosis of different issues affecting the health of the eyes and the quality of people's vision. We offer nurmous tests here at our Beverly Hills eye care center, which helps us diagnose and treat different retinal diseases.

There are a few different kinds of tests that can be performed on the retinas, including the use of ultrasound, special black and white photography, and optical coherence tomography, (OCT). The retinal angriogram can be especially helpful to really see what is happening with the blood vessels of the eye, which is why it is also one of these common tests.

What Is an Angiogram?

An angriogram involves the injection of a special fluorescein dye into the arm. This fluorescein dye circulates safely through the blood stream, eventually winding up in the blood vessels of the eyes. Using a special camera, eye care specialists are able to closely examine the veins and arteries of the retina.

What Can a Retinal Angiogram Detect?

Retinal angiogams are able to detect a whole host of retinal disorders and conditions, though eye care specialists will most commonly use the test as a means of detecting diabetic reintopathy and macular degeneration, two common issues that affect retinal health.

Thanks to the retinal angiogram, a retinal specialist can determine if there is adequate blood flow in the back of a patient's eye, and determine what the ideal option for treatment may be.

Preparing for a Retinal Angiogram

Preparing for a retinal angiogram will typically involve careful tests to determine if you may be allergic to the fluorescein dye that is administered. Any allergies to iodine will need to be disclosed in order to avoid complications from the test.

It will also involve a discussion of any over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs currently being taken. This is simply a precaution to avoid issues with contraindications and negative side effects.

Just prior to the angiogram, patients will be asked to remove their contact lenses if they wear them. This just ensures an accurate look into the eyes and at the retinas.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Retinal Angiography

While retinal angiograms are generally safe under proper supervision, there are some potential side effects and risks to consider. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased saliva production
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Sneezing

Pregnant women should avoid undergoing a retinal angiogram since the dye may have an affect on the developing fetus.

Performing the Retinal Angiogram

Patients are given eye drops to dilate their pupils and then rest their chin and forehead near the special camera to allow the eye doctors a good view of the retinas. The fluorescein dye is then injected into the arm. The camera will take pictures as the fluorescein dye spreads through the system and moves thorough the blood vessels at the back of the eye.

Following the angiogram, you may have dilated pupils for up to 12 hours. This is normal.

Learn More About Retinal Checkups and Care

To learn more about treating retinal problems and improving your overall vision health, be sure to contact our team of retina and eye care specialists today. We look forward to your visit and working with you closely to improve and enhance your vision.

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Dr. David J. Parks

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Pacific Retina Specialists specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of ocular complications of diabetes, age related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, ocular inflammation, and other retinal diseases. Schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located offices in  Beverly Hills, Tamuning, Ridgecrest, and Lancaster.

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