Recommended protocol and technique for doing oral fundus fluorescein angiography for adults and children : Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Surgical Technique

Recommended protocol and technique for doing oral fundus fluorescein angiography for adults and children

Mohan, Sashwanthi; Raman, Rajiv

Author Information
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology 70(12):p 4430-4433, December 2022. | DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_1220_22
  • Open


Fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA) is an ophthalmic test which is utilized to visualise the retinal vasculature in diseased retina. FFA is conventionally performed through intravenous injection of 10%–20% sodium fluorescein dye, following which serial retinal imaging (~490 nm wavelength) is used to dynamically visualize retinal and choroidal flow and circulation, vascular integrity, and any vascular abnormalities.[1] Burke, in 1910, was the first to use oral fluorescein for delineating retinal pathology, but it was Kelley and Kincaid, in 1979,[2] who first used a dosage of 1 g of fluorescein sodium in 25 patients and concluded that it can be administered safely by mouth and the resulting images are useful in demonstrating many conditions with bright leakage, such as cystoid macular edema. As FFA typically requires intravenous injection of fluorescein, this procedure has inherent problems in children and those with multiple systemic problems. Intravenous FFA also has a risk of adverse effects which may rarely be serious, while oral FFA has shown no such serious adverse effects in large cohorts.[3] Few other protocols have been previously described.[456] We describe our department’s protocol and technique for performing oral FFA with image acquisition times typically lasting <30 min, which has given reliable results in many cases.


Indications are mentioned in Table 1.

Table 1:
Indications for oral FFA


  1. When information on early phases of angiogram is desired, for example, arm to retina circulation time, identification of leaking microaneurysms, focal leaks in central serous chorioretinopathy, and so on.
  2. History of severe allergic reactions
  3. Pregnancy.

Technique and doses

Table 2 shows the doses for children <18 years and adults >18 years old.[3]

Table 2:
Dosage for oral FFA

Fig. 1 shows the dilution technique for adults and children.

Figure 1:
Flow chart showing the dilution technique for children and adults

Other precautions:

  1. It is preferable to fast for 1–2 h before oral FFA to ensure quicker absorption.
  2. Before the procedure, ensure that pupillary dilatation is done. Patients undergoing oral FFA should ingest the appropriate dose of fluorescein sodium in a short time in one gulp.
  3. Emergency tray and trained personnel to handle emergency should be available in the room.

FFA image acquisition

This should be started 5–10 min after oral ingestion of dye. With 20% fluorescein solution, it typically takes 2–5 min for a choroidal flush to appear shortly followed by retinal circulation.[3] Following this stage, the circulatory filling times are proportionately delayed, but the main phases are typically complete within 20 min of consumption for diagnostic purpose. Confocal retinal camera can give us higher quality images than the images obtained with a conventional fundus camera.

Fig. 2 shows an example of a case which underwent oral FFA.

Figure 2:
Oral FFA of left eye of a patient at 1 min (a), 5 min (b), 8 min (c), and 12 min (d). FFA = fundus fluorescein angiography


Although the intravenous route has its obvious advantages, oral FFA can prove useful in many situations. Kelley and Kincaid[2] suggested the use of oral FFA in studies of children, patients with difficult veins, and in some surveys of large patient populations. Azad et al.[7] also demonstrated the efficacy of oral FFA in 20 patients at a dosage of 1 g/40 kg body weight, who did not demonstrate any nausea, vomiting, or allergic reactions. Since the sensation of nausea is related to injection of dye in bolus, which is avoided by oral route of dye administration, the oral route has a clear advantage in avoiding these side effects. Watson and Rosen[6] demonstrated that a dose of 25 mg/kg body weight in capsule form produced good-quality angiograms in 75% of patients in their study. They stated that the advantages of oral FFA are that it need not be given by a doctor, patients with inaccessible veins can be investigated, children or adults who are afraid of injections are not alarmed, and it is safer than intravenous fluorescein. Amador-Patarroyo et al.[8] identified that fasting oral FFA provided better quality images as well as faster imaging times when compared to nonfasting state, and hence, fasting for 1–2 h before oral FFA is suggested in our protocol. Oral FFA has also been demonstrated to be more sensitive than spectral domain optical coherence tomography in cases of retinal vascular diseases.[9] It has also been useful for ultra-widefield imaging in children and retinopathy of prematurity.[10111213] However, in infants in the operating room setting where intravenous (IV) access is already secured, IV FFA has an obvious advantage. There have not been any protocols regarding the dosage until recently. Marmoy et al.[4] also gave a recommendation for oral FFA in children, where the dosage was calculated as 7.5 mg/kg in those <18 years old, which is what we have also adopted. Being noninvasive and easy to administer, oral FFA can serve as an alternative in several situations. Our article suggests the recommended oral FFA protocol for both adults and children.


Oral FFA is a convenient mode of examination and can serve as an alternative to intravenous FFA, especially in pediatric patients. Although the image detail is not equal to IV angiography in all cases, the current protocol gives good-quality angiograms. For many clinical purposes, oral angiography using the confocal retinal camera produces adequate images that allow diagnosis, follow-up, and treatment of many retinal pathologies.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1. Banda HK, Shah GK, Blinder KJ. Applications of fundus autofluorescence and widefield angiography in clinical practice. Can J Ophthalmol 2019; 54:11–9.
2. Kelley JS, Kincaid M. Retinal fluorography using oral fluorescein. Arch Ophthalmol 1979; 97:2331–2.
3. Hara T, Inami M, Hara T. Efficacy and safety of fluorescein angiography with orally administered sodium fluorescein. Am J Ophthalmol 1998; 126:560–4.
4. Marmoy OR, Henderson RH, Ooi K. Recommended protocol for performing oral fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA) in children. Eye (Lond) 2022; 36:234–6.
5. Nayak BK, Ghose S. A method for fundus evaluation in children with oral fluorescein. Br J Ophthalmol 1987; 71:907–9.
6. Watson AP, Rosen ES. Oral fluorescein angiography:Reassessment of its relative safety and evaluation of optimum conditions with use of capsules. Br J Ophthalmol 1990; 74:458–61.
7. Azad R, Nayak BK, Tewari HK, Khosla PK. Oral fluorescein angiography. Indian J Ophthalmol 1984; 32:415–7.
8. Amador-Patarroyo MJ, Lin T, Meshi A, Dans KC, Chen K, Borooah S, et al. Identifying the factors for improving quality of oral fluorescein angiography. Br J Ophthalmol 2020; 104:504–8.
9. Barteselli G, Chhablani J, Lee SN, Wang H, El Emam S, Kozak I, et al. Safety and efficacy of oral fluorescein angiography in detecting macular edema in comparison with spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Retina (Philadelphia, Pa.) 2013; 33:1574.
10. Yamao S, Tsujioka T, Takada R, Matsumoto F, Kusaka S. Utility of oral fluorescein angiography with ultra-widefield imaging system for evaluation of various retinal disorders. Retina 2021; 41:1338–45.
11. Ling XC, Chou HD, Liu L, Wang NK, Lai CC, Chen KJ, et al. Comparison between oral and intravenous ultrawide-field fluorescein angiography in the clinical follow-up of children with a history of retinopathy of prematurity or prematurity. Retina 2022; 42:1330–7.
12. Sugimoto M, Matsubara H, Miyata R, Matsui Y, Ichio A, Kondo M. Ultra-WideField fluorescein angiography by oral administration of fluorescein. Acta Ophthalmol 2014; 92:e417–8.
13. Fung TH, Muqit MM, Mordant DJ, Smith LM, Patel CK. Noncontact high-resolution ultra-wide-field oral fluorescein angiography in premature infants with retinopathy of prematurity. JAMA Ophthalmol 2014; 132:108–10.

Fundus fluorescein angiography; intravenous FFA; oral FFA

Copyright: © 2022 Indian Journal of Ophthalmology