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Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV)
This color photograph of an eye with CNV (choroidal neovascularization or “wet AMD” shows very subtle color changes in the macula.


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Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV) with Fluorescein Angiography
The injection of fluorescein dye into the circulation allows the doctor to see clearly where the abnormal blood vessels (CNV) are located, how extensive the problem is, what treatments should be considered, and what is likely to happen in response to treatment.


What is eye angiography?
Fluorescein angiography is a diagnostic test which uses a special camera to photograph the structures in the back of the eye. This test is very useful for finding leakage or damage to the blood vessels which nourish the retina (light sensitive tissue). Fluorescein is a yellow dye which glows in visible light. It is injected into a vein in the arm of the patient. The dye travels through the circulatory system and reaches the vessels in the retina and those of a deeper tissue layer called the choroid. This test doesn't involve the use of X-rays or harmful forms of radiation.
Why is eye angiography performed?
This test can help retina specialists diagnose and evaluate specific eye diseases. Fluorescein dye is best for studying the retinal circulation. Certain eye disorders, such as diabetic retinopathy and retinal vascular occlusive disease affect primarily the retinal circulation and are usually imaged with fluorescein dye. Also with age-related macular degeneration, where leakage is from the deeper choroidal vessels, the test may be useful. When abnormal vessels or leakage is identified with an angiogram, laser treatment may be indicated to prevent vision loss. This test can also be useful for following the course of disease or response to treatment.
What are the risks of eye angiography?
Fluorescein angiography is considered very safe and serious side-effects from these tests are uncommon. However, there is the possibility that a patient may have a reaction to the dyes. Fluorescein contains no iodine and is safe in patients known to be allergic. Some people may experience slight nausea after dye injection that usually passes quickly. Patients who are allergic to the dye can develop itching and a skin rash. These symptoms generally respond quickly to oral medications such as anti-histamines or steroids. Very rarely, a sudden life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur. This condition requires medical treatment. There is a possibility of an infiltrate of the dye into the skin at the injection site; this would cause some discomfort or discoloring of the skin for several days. Fluorescein dye will turn a patient's urine orange and may slightly discolor the skin as well for a brief period. For special patient populations there may be individual risks of these procedures which your physician will specify for you.