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How to test vision using an Amsler grid

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How to test vision using an Amsler grid

Normal Amsler grid
Amsler grid with wavy lines

An Amsler grid is a chart with horizontal and vertical lines that form boxes. It has a dot in the center. An Amsler grid is one of the easiest ways to screen for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Your doctor may give you an Amsler grid to use at home.

If you usually wear reading glasses, put them on, and place the grid a normal reading distance from your face.

  • Cover your right eye.
  • With your left eye, look at the grid. Focus on the dot in the center, but pay attention to the lines around it.
  • Repeat with the left eye covered and the right eye focused on the dot.

If you have macular degeneration, the lines may appear wavy or curved, or you may see a blank or dark area in the middle of the grid.

The grid below shows one example of how the straight lines in the grid above might look wavy to someone with macular degeneration.

Current as of: December 18, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Christopher Joseph Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology

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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.