Too often, people lose their vision without even realizing it’s happening. This is why regular eye exams are so crucial. Periodically testing your vision at home is a simple way to catch a problem in the very early stages. Tests like the Amsler Grid can be thought of as a first line of defense against certain types of vision loss. The Amsler Grid can help detect declining central vision, which is a sign of macular degeneration, characterized by blurry, missing areas of vision or distorted lines. Though it is the most common cause of severe vision loss in older Americans, a great deal of research has been done to slow down or even reverse the disease, making prevention extremely important.
Whether or not you have noticed any of these symptoms, take just a minute to protect your sight. Sometimes basic tests like these can pick up on underlying eye problems even before you notice any changes in your vision.
You can either look at the grid on the screen below or download a copy for printing here so you can check yourself frequently.
How to Test Yourself:
- If you typically wear reading glasses, put them on before taking this test.
- Sit or stand about 14 inches away from the computer screen or the printed Amsler Grid.
- With your left eye closed, use only your right eye to focus on the black dot in the center of the grid, making sure you are able to see the surrounding grid.
- If any of the lines seem like they are missing or look wavy, blurry, or distorted as opposed to a straight grid-like pattern or have changed since the last time you have taken the test, note or mark these areas.
- Repeat with your left eye.
- Contact your ophthalmologist as soon as possible to make an appointment for a more thorough examination if you have any concerns about your results. (For more info: Macular Degeneration Partnership, UC Davis Eye Center)