Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. There are approximately 15 million people who experience the condition in the United States alone. The number of cases is only expected to rise with the silver tsunami of 10,000 baby boomers that turn 65 each day.
Early diagnosis of AMD can help individuals plan for their condition and help sustain a better quality of life.
Eye doctors use the Amsler grid to help diagnose cases of AMD. This tool detects central vision problems that might be caused by damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve. When looking at the black dot in Amsler grid, any changes in central vision may cause the lines in the grid to disappear or appear wavy. This is a symptom of AMD.
The grid can be used at home to keep tabs on central vision and gauge changes to eyesight and vision health.
Below are a few tips for using the Amsler grid at home:
- Wear any glasses you would normally wear during reading.
- View the chart at arms distance and cover one eye.
- With the uncovered eye, focus on the dark dot in the center of the grid.
- While looking at this dot, you still should be aware of the lines of the grid. Note if any of the lines are distorted or broken or if there are blurred areas.
- Repeat with your other eye.
- If you notice any blurred, wavy or missing lines, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Please note, that while useful, this self-test does not take the place of regular appointments with an eye doctor.