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 ofJuly 17, 2018

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