The Amsler grid is a tool that eye doctors use to detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina or the optic nerve). An early diagnosis means early treatment, so it may help to limit or at least slow the vision loss you may experience.
One of the first signs of macular degeneration can be wavy, broken or distorted lines or also a blurred or missing area of vision. The Amsler Grid can help you spot these issues early. Early detection of wet AMD (age related macular degeneration) is critical because laser treatment, when indicated, is most successful when performed before damage occurs. Since dry AMD can lead to development of wet AMD, most patients should use the Amsler Grid. Check with your eye doctor to find out how often you should use this test.
If you are at risk for macular degeneration or other eye diseases, you can print and use this chart at home to monitor your vision. But using the chart doesn't mean you should skip regular visits to your eye doctor, because you can easily miss signs that only a trained eye care practitioner will find.
For more accurate detection of macular damage, you will need a complete eye exam.
Please note: This chart is an approximation of the printed chart used by eye doctors. You may want to print this page and then take the test.
Using glasses if needed, cover one eye and look at the dot in the center of the grid. Note how many lines and squares appear. Do they look straight and even, or do any seem wavy or distorted? Are any pieces of the grid missing? Now cover your other eye and follow the same directions. If lines do not appear straight and even, contact your eye care professional immediately.