What is a retinal angiogram?

An angiogram is a study of blood vessels in the eye. It provides information about the veins and arteries and the general health of the retina. The retina is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye.

Why do I need to have one?

Angiograms are useful for detecting many diseases that affect the retina and helping the doctor decide how to treat your eyes.

How is an angiogram done?

The test is performed by injecting dye into a vein in your arm which travels to the blood vessels in your eye. A special camera is used to take images of the dye as it moves through the back of your eye.

The dye and images will show if there are any circulation problems, for example, any swelling or abnormal or leaking blood vessels.

What do I need to know before I come in?

  • You could be in the hospital for up to three hours.
  • It is better to bring someone with you.
  • You should 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 a list of your current medications with you and any regular medications you need to take.
  • Bring sunglasses to wear outside when you leave the hospital as your eyes will be sensitive to light.
  • You will not be able to drive for up to four hours after the procedure.

On the day

The nurse will:

  • Check your eyesight and 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.

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).

The photographer will then:

  • Take a series of colour images of your eye. For the best result, your eyelid may be held open.
  • Take a series of images with a coloured light as the dye is injected.
  • Give you a short rest then some final images will be taken. This completes the test.

 What happens after the test is done?

You sit in the waiting room for 20 to 30 minutes to check you do not have any after effects from the test, and are feeling well.

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.
  • Staff are trained to manage all reactions. They will care for you until you are well enough to go home.

When do I get my results?

A doctor will discuss your results at your next visit to the Outpatients Department, or with your private doctor.

Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Retinal Angiogram #38
  • Owner: Medical Photography
  • Last Reviewed: June 28, 2023
  • Next Review: June 28, 2028