Amsler Eye Test for Central Vision

An Amsler grid is a useful tool for monitoring your central visual field. 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. Amsler grids can be obtained from your eye specialist.

Example of Amsler grid for monitoring central vision.

Instructions for using the Amsler grid

  • Test your vision with adequate lighting
  • Wear your reading glasses or look through the reading portion of your bifocals (if you normally read with spectacles)
  • Hold the Amsler grid at normal reading distance (about 14 inches)
  • Cover one eye at a time with the palm of your hand
  • Stare at the centre dot of the chart at all times
  • Do not let your eye drift from the centre dot

Ask yourself the following questions as you check each eye separately:

  • Are any of the lines crooked or bent?
  • Are any of the boxes different in size or shape from the others?
  • Are any of the lines wavy, missing, blurry, or discoloured?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" (and this is a new finding for you), you should contact your doctor immediately for an examination. Sometimes these changes may mean that there is leakage or bleeding in the back of the eye causing swelling of the retina.

Amsler grid test in Age Related Macular Degeneration.

  • Amsler grid normally looks like

    Here is what an Amsler grid normally looks like.

  • Amsler grid might look to someone with AMD

    This is how an Amsler grid might look to someone with AMD.

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Credibility Logos

  • American Academy Of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Retina Specialists
  • ASCRS
  • National Eye Institute
  • Glaucoma Australia
  • Macular Degeneration Foundation