Thumbnail image of: Amsler Grid: Illustration

Amsler Grid

What is an Amsler grid?

An Amsler grid is a chart that you can use to test your eyes for a change in central vision. The test is simple and can be done quickly at home. It is often recommended for people with macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that damages the macula in the eye. The macula is in the center of the retina. The retina is the lining at the back of the eye that senses light coming into the eye. The macula allows you to see fine details in the center of your field of vision. AMD can make it hard to read, drive, or recognize faces. Regularly checking your vision with an Amsler grid can help you to find changes in your vision early. If you find a change, see your eye care provider as soon as possible.

How is it used?

Hold a copy of the grid in good light at your normal reading distance (usually about 12 inches). If you usually wear glasses to read, put them on.

Completely cover one eye with the palm of your hand and look directly at the small black dot in the center of the grid. With the side vision, all of the lines should look straight and clear. If any of the lines look blurred or wavy, or if some lines are gray or missing, mark that on the grid. Then cover the other eye and repeat the test.

Use the grid to test your vision as often as directed by your healthcare provider.

Keep the grid handy. Look for any change in the appearance of the lines and boxes on the chart since the last time you took the test. If you notice a change, call your provider for an appointment right away.

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site:
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-02-07
Last reviewed: 2014-10-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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