The Amsler grid is a visual aide designed to allow patients to self-test their vision in both eyes. You should wear your reading glasses and cover one eye at a time when testing your vision. Focus on the central dot and use your peripheral vision to study the straight lines on the grid. You may also test your vision (one eye at a time) looking at straight lines in your environment, such as edges of doors or blinds.
If you notice any rapid loss of vision or distortion of straight lines on the grid or in your environment (from your normal baseline), you should contact you eye care provider as soon as possible.
When viewing an Amsler grid, some straight lines may appear wavy, and some patches of the grid may appear blank or distorted.
Check your vision using an Amsler grid
The Amsler grid is a basic test that can detect changes in central vision that may be early signs of macular degeneration. Regular self-testing with an Amsler grid helps insure prompt diagnosis and treatment. If you have or are at risk for developing macular degeneration, it is wise to check your vision daily in each eye. If the lines in the grid appear crooked, wavy, missing, blurry, or discolored, or if you notice any sudden changes in your vision, you should alert your ophthalmologist or contact us immediately. The phone number for the Retina Service here is 617-667-3391.
Instructions for self-testing with the Amsler grid:
- Keep the grid at a normal reading distance, about 14 inches away.
- If you wear glasses, keep them on. Completely cover one eye.
- With your other eye, stare at the central dot on the grid.
- While staring at the dot, observe the pattern of vertical and horizontal lines on the chart.
- Repeat the test with the other eye.
Download the Amsler grid