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Free Tool to Test for Macular Degeneration

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The Amsler Grid provides important clues about central vision.

What you hear about aging eyes and the risks of macular degeneration may make you feel like there is nothing you can do to protect your vision. That is simply not true.

Regular exams with your optometrist are the best way to detect and treat eye disease before it affects your vision. And in between visits there is an easy tool that you can use to help you notice changes to your sight.

This is important because macular degeneration is a progressive disease, meaning that early warning signs can worsen over time and the changes will be subtle. A quick check at home can make all the difference for your eyes.

About the Amsler Grid

This test has been used for decades by doctors and patients. It offers patients important clues about the condition of their sharp, central focus using a cleverly designed grid with one central dot. Your doctor may have given you a copy of the test or you can use the one here.

People with sharp central vision see grid lines that are straight and a visible central dot. People with signs of macular degeneration may see parts of the grid as curved, distorted or missing. Talk with your eye doctor if your view of the grid has changed in either or both eyes.

How to Use the Amsler Grid

While the test is easy to use, it is important to remember a few helpful hints. Avoid taking the test in a room with glare and try to keep the chart at a consistent distance.  Remember to test both eyes separately! And follow these simple steps:

  1. Is this what you see?
    Hold the Amsler Grid at eye level and at a comfortable reading distance.
  2. Wear the eyeglasses or contacts you normally use for reading.
  3. Cover one eye.
  4. Fix your gaze on the center black dot.
  5. Try to notice if any portion of the grid is distorted, blurred or missing. Be sure to check the edges and corners too.
  6. Repeat with the other eye.

If your view of the grid has changed, contact your eye doctor.

Author Vision Source — Published February 1, 2016

Posted In Eye Health Awareness