How to use the Amsler grid
The Amsler grid is a tool that can be used to help detect any changes in your vision.
Early diagnosis is important for early treatment, and whilst the Amsler grid is helpful for at home monitoring, it should not replace regular visits to your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
- Make sure you are wearing your eyeglasses or contact lenses that you usually would for reading
- Ensure you are in a room that is well lit with natural lighting
- Hold the grid at arms length
- Cover one eye and focus on the centre dot with the other eye
- If you notice any lines are missing or distorted, mark them on the chart
- Repeat with the other eye
If you notice any changes
If you notice any significant, constant or new changes in the grid, for example the lines looking wavy, broken, distorted or irregular in any way, ensure you contact your eye care provider for further advice.
An example of what a distorted grid may look like:
What is age-related macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease that affects the central area of the retina called the macula. Changes to your vision noted on the Amsler grid may suggest a significant change in the status of your AMD.
How common is AMD?
AMD is one of the leading causes of severe vision loss in Australia and is most prevalent in those aged over 50.
What are the causes?
The causes of AMD are currently not fully understood. Evidence suggests the condition has a genetic link, so people with a family history of AMD have a four-fold increased risk of developing the eye disease. Other risk factors associated with AMD include age and smoking.
The Macular Research Unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia is working on a wide range of projects to improve diagnosis and treatment for AMD and to progress towards a cure. Professor Robyn Guymer leads the unit and is a recognised world leader in research and clinical management of AMD.