Amsler grid

One of the easiest ways to screen for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is to use an Amsler grid. An Amsler grid is a chart with lines and a dot at the center that lets you monitor changes in your central vision.

Your doctor can give you an Amsler grid to use at home.

If you have dry AMD, check your vision in each eye every day or as often as your doctor advises. It only takes a few seconds.

Illustration of normal Amsler grid

Cover one eye. Then, using your other eye, look at the grid above. Repeat with the opposite eye covered. Call your doctor immediately if you see either of the following:

  • Lines that appear wavy and curved
  • A blank or dark spot—other than the center dot—in the middle of the grid

In the grid below, the lines around the center are wavy and distorted. This is one example of how the straight lines in the grid above might appear to someone with macular degeneration.

Illustration of Amsler grid with distortion

The distortion or blind spot (scotoma) you actually see may be different from what is shown in the grid picture.

Last Updated: August 4, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, FRCSC - Ophthalmology

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