Amsler Grid

The Amsler Grid test is a grid of horizontal and vertical lines that track the central ten percent of the viewer’s field of vision. During the test, the person views the grid first with one eye, then the other. Amsler grids can be obtained by ophthalmologists or optometrists as well as printed from websites. This is convenient for those who wish to test their vision at home.

Instructions

  • To use the grid, wear your normal reading glasses (single-lens only) and have decent lighting

  • Hold the grid between 12 and 15 inches away from your face

  • While covering one eye, look directly at the dot in the center of the square and remain focused on it with the uncovered eye.

  • Continuing to look at the center dot, determine if the sides of your vision are keeping the outer grid lines straight or if they appear blurry, wavy, dark, or blank

  • Repeat these steps with the other eye

By repeating these steps daily, you can determine any changes in your vision early on and get the help you need right away.

Interpretations

Since 1945, the Amsler Grid has been used as a diagnostic tool to help in the detection of altered vision caused by variations in a person’s retina, especially the macula (central part of the retina), and the optic nerve. It also affects the visual pathway to the brain.

To interpret this test, viewers must look at the dot in the center of the grid. If they cannot see the dot in the center, this could be an indication that they have a scotoma or blind spot within the central ten percent of their field of vision.

Another indicator is to determine whether the outer lines of the grid appear straight and true or if they now appear wavy or blurry. Dark or blank spots are also a sign that
a person may have a visual field defect.

Distortions

Originally a black and white grid, people now have the option for blue and yellow, which research has shown eyes are more responsive to. The color version can be used to test a wider range of visual avenues and detect abnormalities related to the retina and the
optic nerve as well as the pituitary gland.

When the person viewing an Amsler grid sees distortions in the lines, missing lines or corners, it’s time to visit your ophthalmologist for a thorough evaluation. This could be a sign of an unusual contour of the retina or symptom of another condition.

Think you may have a low vision problem?