Actively Monitor Your Vision With an Amsler Grid

An Amsler grid is an important vision testing tool that you can easily use in your home to track the progression of vision conditions affecting the retina or the back part of the eye.

One condition this test is useful for is macular degeneration (AMD), the slow deterioration of the retina that causes central vision to become less colorful, blurry, or distorted. There are two types of AMD: dry, the most common version, and wet, the more severe and advanced version. Since patients with dry AMD can develop wet AMD, it’s a good idea to use an Amsler grid to monitor vision changes.

This self-test can also benefit patients with several other retinal conditions such as epiretinal membranes (ERM), macular holes, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion.

Vision loss caused by AMD and other retinal conditions happens so slowly that it may not be noticeable without careful, standardized testing. Most vision loss cannot be restored, so it’s important to be vigilant about regular checks to catch progression early and to be able to effectively treat vision. Daily tests with the Amsler grid are helpful, but should not be a replacement for regular visits to your doctor.

Download and Print Your Free Amsler Grid

How To Test with an Amsler Grid

Ensure that your printed chart is free of aberrations caused by low ink or misaligned paper. Once you have a good, clean printed sheet, tape the chart to the wall at eye level in a well-lit area without glare. To make it easy to remember to test, hang your chart in a visible spot, such as on the fridge. We recommend testing once per day.

  1. Stand 12-15 inches from the chart. If you usually wear reading glasses, put them on. It’s important to stand in the same place every time you test. If possible, place a piece of tape on the floor marking the spot you’ll use each day.
  2. Cover one eye. This is so that, if the vision in your other eye is stronger, it can’t compensate.
  3. Stare at the dot in the center of the chart for 10 seconds. Any distortions in the grid, like wavy or missing lines or spots of black blur, are important to note for any changes.
  4. Repeat for the other eye.

When To Contact Your Ophthalmologist, Based on Amsler Grid Results

Contact your ophthalmologist immediately when you notice any change in your self-test results with the chart. You might experience a variety of changes. The lines might turn wavy or dark, a blurry black spot might appear, or parts may appear missing.

Since you’ve been testing yourself every day, you’ll become familiar with what is and isn’t normal for your vision. This detailed recognition of your own eye sight puts you in a good position to identify when changes occur and contact your doctor for treatment.

Changes in vision can happen gradually and any loss cannot be reversed. So, it’s important to be persistent in monitoring your condition daily with this simple, easy to use Amsler grid.