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Fluorescein Angiography – FFA


The full form of FFA eye test is Fundus Fluorescein angiography. It is one of the fundamental imaging techniques in the eye. It helps in the differentiation of retinal diseases. The FFA eye test determines need of laser treatment of the retina.  An angiography of the heart looks in detail at the blood vessles of the heart.  Similarly, an FFA eye test is nothing but an angiography for eyes.

In which conditions is this angiography for eyes / FFA test done ?

Here are the list of a few conditions where this angiography for eyes is advised.  
  1. Diabetic Retinopahy
  2. Choroidal neovascular membrane ( CNVM)
  3. Central retinal vein occlusion
  4. Central retinal artery occlusion
  5. Poypoidal choroidal vasculopathy
There are a few more but this would be enough for this text.

How is this angiogram for the eyes performed ?

This angiogram for the eyes takes about 20 to 30 minutes. It starts off by our anesthetist injecting a vein in the arm with a contrast medium called Sodium Fluorescein. The dye travels quickly through the body’s circulatory system. The pictures of the retina are taken in black and white as the dye travels through the eye. The FFA eye test uses the same camera used for fundus photography . Two special filters limit the colour of the image to the colour coming from the fluorescent dye.
About twelve seconds after the injection, the dye appears in the arteries of the retina. Over a two to five second period, the dye travels through the very small vessels, or capillaries, and fills the veins. Ten minutes after the injection, the dye has mostly evacuated from the eye, having stained the optic nerve head. During this entire time the retina is photographed and assesed later for treatment planning.

what are the Possible side effects of ffa eye test ?

You may get:
  • Person may feel a wave of nausea (feel sick) for 30 to 60 seconds after the injection. This is especially true if you have had a heavy meal before the test. For this reason, it is a good idea not to have a heavy meal before your appointment.
  • Sneezing
  • A strange taste at the back of your mouth after the injection
  • The injection site can be painful if the dye leaks from the vein into the surrounding tissue.
  • A mild headache.
  • An allergic reaction. Please let the doctor know if you have allergies or have had a severe allergic reaction before performing FFA eye test
  • Your pee would be yellow for that day as the body throws out the dye.

Frequently Asked Questions

For all fundus angiographies done we have an anesthetist who is standing by to take care of any untoward incident.  Most of the times nothing really happens but we still do have an anesthetist as a standby.

You dont have to do anything in particular apart from coming on an empty stomach.

An FFA test costs you Rs 4500 and for pictures of both eyes.  Anesthetist charges are extra and are usually Rs 1500. Even though some eye hospitals may choose not to have an anesthetist for this FFA test, we always choose to have one as a rule.

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