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Diabetic Retinopathy: Using the Amsler Grid

You may have or be at risk of diabetic retinopathy. This condition occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in the rear of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to vision loss or blindness. You can greatly reduce your risk of vision loss by managing your health and keeping track of changes in your vision. Check your eyesight regularly using the Amsler grid below.

The Amsler grid helps you track changes in your vision.

How to Use the Amsler Grid

  1. Use the grid in a well-lighted area.

  2. Wear glasses or contact lenses if you usually wear them.

  3. Hold the grid at your normal reading distance (about 16 inches).

  4. Cover your left eye.

  5. With your right eye, look at the dot in the center of the grid.

  6. While looking at the dot, notice if any of the lines look wavy, if any lines disappear, or if the boxes change shape.

  7. Write down on a piece of paper any vision changes from the last time you used the grid.

  8. Now repeat the exercise, this time covering your right eye.

  9. Call your doctor right away if you notice any vision changes.

How Often Should I Check My Vision?

Use the Amsler grid as often as your eye doctor suggests. Keep the grid where you'll remember to use it. Call your eye doctor right away if you notice any changes with your eyesight. This includes if your vision improves.

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We see patients from the downtown Seattle, Belltown and South Lake Union areas of Seattle in King County, WA.

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Dr. Feiten was born and raised in Wisconsin, attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for her undergraduate studies. She graduated from Pacific University with her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1987. She practiced in Kentucky for seven years, receiving the Young OD of the Year Award in 1994.

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