Amsler Grid

The Amsler grid test is a tool you can use to help detect macular degeneration or monitor the progression of the disease.

As with other eye conditions, early detection of macular degeneration is key to slowing the progression of the disease and preserving vision. One key tool that you can use to help identify macular degeneration symptoms – or self-monitor the progression of your disease if you have already been diagnosed – is the Amsler grid test.

Amsler Grid with Distortion.

What is the Amsler grid test?

Some of the early signs of macular degeneration include wavy lines, blank spots or other distortions in vision, and the Amsler grid can help to detect these. The Amsler grid looks similar to graph paper, with a black dot in the center and a series of vertical and horizontal lines forming squares.

How does the Amsler grid test work?

You can download a copy of the Amsler grid test here. To take the test, hold the Amsler grid away from you at a comfortable reading distance − about a foot away. If you typically wear glasses, put them on and then cover or close one eye. Next, focus on the black dot in the center. As you keep your eye focused on this spot, notice if:

  • All the lines on the grid appear straight
  • All the squares appear perfectly square
  • There are no missing areas in the grid
  • There is no distorted line or square

The Amsler grid test only takes a few seconds, and you should do this test for each eye separately, once a day.

What if I notice distortions while taking the Amsler grid test?

If you notice that the lines of the Amsler grid look wavy, or if you notice blurry areas or dark spots, you should contact your ophthalmologist for a check up as soon as possible. If you have already been diagnosed with macular degeneration, call your ophthalmologist right away if you notice changes when using the Amsler grid.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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