Paul Crompton
Superotemporal Retinal Branch Vein Occlusion, 2001

Fundus photograph; Topcon 50IX fundus camera; Kodak Megaplus digital monochromatic camera

Media Resources Centre, Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust and Cardiff University, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Fluorescein angiography of the fundus is a technique in which a small amount of sodium fluorescein dye is injected in to the arm of the patient and then photographed as it passes through the blood vessels of the retina, using a short wave blue light to excite the dye. A sequence of photographs is taken as the dye travels through the circulatory system, passing from arteries to veins. The contrast achieved by using the dye allows the ophthalmologist to clearly see problems with the blood flow to this vital organ. In this image, one of the veins taking blood away from the upper half of the retina reveals it is blocked. The blood (and dye) entering through the fully functioning arterial system cannot pass through the capillary network to the vein in the normal way and so tries to find alternative routes by crossing to the circulation in the lower half of the eye. Meanwhile, the capillary system in the affected area is shut down, illustrated by the marked difference between the general appearances of the two halves of the retina.

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