Age Related Macular Degeneration: The Amsler Grid Test

The Amsler Grid Test is a diagnostic test that is used by doctors and eye care professionals to detect problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve.  The damage may be caused by macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other eye diseases, making the Amsler grid is useful tool in detecting the onset of these eye diseases allowing for an early diagnosis and early treatment.  Using an amsler grid may help to limit or at least slow the vision loss people experience.  The amsler grid is a simple diagnostic test that people at risk of certain eye diseases such as age related macular degeneration can use at home to determine if they have symptoms of the disease.

The Amsler Grid is a simple screening test that is used to assess the macula (the center of the retina).  The Amsler Grid consists of evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines printed on black or white paper with a small dot is located in the center of the grid for fixation.

The eye test is quite simple.  While staring at the dot in the centre of the Amsler Grid, the patient looks for wavy lines and missing areas of the grid.   This simplicity of this test makes it an effective and inexpensive diagnostic test for diagnosing things such as age related macular degeneration and is especially helpful for monitoring vision at home.

This simple screening test is used to assess the macula (the center of the retina).  The Amsler Grid consists of evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines printed on black or white paper.  A small dot is located in the center of the grid for fixation.  While staring at the dot, the patient looks for wavy lines and missing areas of the grid.   This test is especially helpful for monitoring vision at home.

If you are at risk for macular degeneration or other eye diseases, you can use the Amsler Grid at home to monitor your vision.  However, using an Amsler Grid is not a substitute for regular eye exams and doctor visits.  Only trained professionals can detect signs of eye disease that can be missed by self-diagnosis using an Amsler Grid.

Amsler Grid

It is simple to test yourself with the Amsler Grid

If you wear glasses it is important that you wear them while you use the Amsler grid.  The Amsler Grid should be at about the same distance from your eyes as any other reading material would be.

  • Cover one eye, then focus on the dot in the center of the Amsler Grid. Do any of the lines look wavy, blurred or distorted? (All lines should be straight, all intersections should form right angles and all the squares should be the same size.)
  • Are there any missing areas or dark areas in the grid?
  • Can you see all corners and sides of the grid?

If the lines of grid do not appear straight and parallel or there are missing areas, notify your doctor.  This does not necessarily mean that you have macular degeneration, but it is a warning sign that something is wrong.  The doctor will examine the back of the eye (macula) very closely.

This test is frequently given to patients for home use to monitor macular degeneration.

When using the test at home, notify the doctor if any changes in the appearance of the Amsler Grid are detected.

Comments

  1. i am on vitalux 2 a day my eye doctor, told me that i have a very mild MAcular,degeneration,,and also a touch of cataracts,,i dont have any black spot in the center of my eye when i read or drive,the test,that i just took ..as i looked at the black dot,in the center, the odd lines is a bit wavey, but other wise i see excelent,i am 73 years old, i wear contact lenses or glasses progressive bifocals and i see 100 percent,i wear transition outside the house, and clear lenses inside the house, i notice that i need lots of light,..if i go in a place where its dim i dont see as good as i use to i always need a light, but otherwise i am fine,your truly Ross

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