This test helps the ophthalmologist find out more about your AMD and whether you have wet or dry AMD.
Usually the network of blood vessels underneath your retina can't be seen by examining your eyes with a slit lamp. The ophthalmologist can see the damage to your retina but they can't see the detail of the blood vessels this way.
A Fluorescein angiogram is a way of taking pictures of these blood vessels which allows the ophthalmologist to see if there are any changes which could be causing problems.
Before a series of pictures is taken, a yellow dye is injected into your arm which then travels through your bloodstream to your eye. This usually isn't painful but can make some people feel transient nausea.
This dye makes the blood vessels visible on the pictures taken. Once the dye has been injected you will be asked to look at a special machine. The machine takes pictures of the back of your eye as the dye is travelling through the blood vessels. You'll experience a series of flashing lights as the pictures are taken, but the test isn't painful. It usually takes about 10minutes.
It is a very common test and very few people have any serious side effects. The most serious is allergy to the dye, to which 1 in 100,000 are allergic. The injection may give your skin a slight yellow tinge from the dye and it soon passes into your urine, which may also appear a darker yellow than normal (possibly for up to two to three days) but often it fades quicker than that.
Some people are dazzled for a while after the flashing lights but most people find the test straightforward.
These tests help the ophthalmologist decide which type of AMD you have and if any treatment is possible.