How to Use Amsler Grid for Macular Degeneration at Home

Amsler grid or macular degeneration eye chart is used to detect any anomalies in the central visual field. This central field corresponds to the central part of the retina which is called as macula. It is a valuable tool to detect subtle visual changes early in the course of causative disease such as age-related macular degeneration and macular edema caused by diabetes.

After the diagnosis is made, Amsler grid is also used for monitoring any minute changes in vision. This can be done by the patient at home on a regular basis. The patient can use Amsler grid provided by the eye care professional or they can be purchased online.

If you are looking for a printable version of Amsler grid online, please keep in mind that printing a downloaded Amsler chart may not be of the correct size and may not detect the changes in the central visual field. Using a printable Amsler grid chart available online may be okay for a casual test for healthy individuals.

But if you have already been diagnosed with macular degeneration, it would be very important to use professionally-printed Amsler grid charts meant for this purpose in order not to miss any changes in your central visual field.

You can buy Amsler Grid Sheet Pad With Magnet by clicking here.

HPS Amsler Grid 50-Sheet Pad with Magnet

Alternatively, buy expanded version of Amsler Grid Book which provides 7 Amsler Grids and a score sheet master.

Amsler Grid Chart Set, Expanded

There is also a portable device with Amsler gird incorporated in it. Click here to buy Amsler Viewer to detect Age Related Macular Degenertion.

How to Use Amsler Grid for Macular Degeneration at Home 1

Instructions for using the Amsler Macular Degeneration Eye Chart:

This test is not done when the pupil is dilated. That is why Amsler grid test is one of the first tests when you visit an eye care professional. The test is also not done after examination of the eyes are photo-stressed with a bright light such as torch light or slit lamp. In other words, Amsler test is done when the eyes are well adapted to ambient light conditions.

1. Test your vision with adequate lighting.
2. If you normally wear reading glasses or bifocals to view things close to you, put them on to view the grid.
3. Measure (or have someone else measure) a distance of about 16 inches from your eyes to the screen.
4. To test the right eye, left eye should be covered. Try not to press on the eyeball.
5. With your right eye, stare directly at the spot in the center of the grid, and do not look away from this spot.
6. As you see the horizontal and vertical lines in your periphery, notice if you see any wavy, distorted (metamorphopsia), curved, blurry, missing (broken) or discolored lines on Amsler grid. Some areas may appear constricted or expanded.
7. You should also ensure that you are able to see all four corners and all four borders or sides of Amsler grid (while fixating your vision on the central dot)
8. Repeat the test with your other eye.

Amsler Grid Test Interpretation

The lines appear to be wavy if a macular disease is present. If some lines are missing or faint without any distortion of lines, it could indicate the presence of disease of optic nerve – the nerve which conveys visual information to the brain.

If any of the corners or sides of Amsler grid are missing, this should raise the possibility of glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa. In both of these conditions, peripheral visual field is affected first. In advanced disease, central visual field is also gradually involved.

In a scenario where you do not have any significant visual problem and you still detect any of the changes on Amsler grid test, it could be a warning sign of an early macular degeneration. To confirm that, repeat the Amsler grid test the next day in similar light conditions and at the same distance.

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, it will be advisable to continue doing the Amsler grid eye test at least a couple of times a week to monitor or detect any changes. As always, prevention is the best medicine – so be vigilant. The earlier we catch macular degeneration, the better our chances for beating it completely.

Photo by National Eye Institute How to Use Amsler Grid for Macular Degeneration at Home 2

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