Until the arrival of the OCT diagnostic device, this was the predominant system used in Alberta for diagnosing the extent of retinal problems. This service is provided in Edmonton at the ophthalmology department of the adjacent Royal Alexandra Hospital, with the resulting charts being provided to Dr. Uniat for analysis, prior to treatment.
Eye drops are administered to the patient, to dilate the pupils, before the test can assess damage to the retina. Fluorescein is injected into the arm and flows rapidly to the arteries of the eye. At this stage, technicians can take a series of pictures of the retina. Each picture is indicated by a camera click and a flash of light.
Some patients experience side effects of the injections, but these are normally temporary and not dangerous. However, about one in every 25,000 patients can experience an anaphylactic shock, which requires immediate medical treatment.
While this system is still required for certain patients, the number has dropped significantly, since the arrival of the OCT.