Amsler Grid for Self-Testing Central Vision - Macular Degeneration
The Amsler grid is a useful tool for monitoring your central visual field and testing metamorphopsia. It is an important way to detect early and sometimes subtle visual changes in a variety of macular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. It is also helpful in monitoring changes in vision once they have been detected. With the Amsler grid, each eye is tested separately by you. This helps you to recognize visual symptoms which are in one eye only.
Metamorphopsia -- distorted vision -- is the appearance in
the Amsler grid of straight horizontal and vertical lines appear wavy.
In addition parts of the grid may appear blank.
Instructions for using the Amsler grid
- Test your vision with adequate lighting.
- If you normally wear reading glasses or bifocals for near work, put them on to view the grid.
- Measure (or have someone else measure) a distance of about 16 inches from your eyes to the screen.
- Cover your left eye, but do not close it or press on it.
- With your right eye, stare directly at the spot in the center of the grid, and do not look away from this spot.
- As you notice the horizontal and vertical lines in your periphery. Ask yourself the following questions as you check each eye
separately: Are any of the lines wavy, missing, blurry, or discolored?
- curved lines
- distorted lines
- broken lines
- Repeat the test with your other eye.
If you have not noticed problems with your vision, yet you detected broken, curved, or distorted lines (metamorphopsia) while using one or both of the above Amsler grids, it could be that you have an early stage of macular degeneration. Try doing the same test later today or tomorrow. If the results are repeatable, you should make an appointment to have your eyes examined by an optometrist, an optometric physician, or an ophthalmologist. In any case, continue doing the Amsler grid test 2-3 times a week to monitor any changes.
Related condition: macular degeneration.