What is the Amsler Grid?

  
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September 12, 2019, by Bard Optical

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1.75 million people are affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) every year in the U.S. AMD and other eye conditions that are similar, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy to name a few, are serious ocular conditions that can result in blindness if not properly treated. 

But, treatment of these conditions is only half the battle; the other half is detection. How can we detect these conditions before they arise and take control of our lives?

Enter, the Amsler Grid.

Developed for use in 1945, the Amsler Grid is a tool used by eye doctors to detect vision problems related to the onset of macular degeneration and other related eye conditions.

The Amsler Grid is a seemingly inconspicuous device, usually appearing as a sheet of paper covered with grid-like lines and centered with a thick dot.

You might ask, “how can this primitive sheet of paper tell me whether or not I’m at risk for AMD?”

As it turns out, the science behind the Amsler Grid is simple, and our eyes are the ones that do the telling:

How to Take the Amsler Grid Test

The process of taking the Amsler Grid test serves also as the explanation of how the test detects vision problems.

These are the steps for taking the Amsler Grid test: 

  • Tape the chart to a flat surface at eye level.
    • You want the chart to be roughly 14 inches away from you
  • Put on your glasses if you need them, then cover one eye.
    • This includes any store-bought glasses that you use regularly
  • Hold your gaze at the center dot
    • You’ll stare directly at the dot for the duration of the test
  • Without moving your gaze, see if any lines are distorted or missing.
    • This can include any lines that look bent or ‘wavy’, missing, or if any boxes are much larger in shape than others
  • Mark the defects on the chart.
    • Mark the general area that you noticed any of the above discrepancies.
  • Now cover the other eye, and repeat the process.

If you do happen to notice any irregularities, you should schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible, and present the Amsler Grid to your eye doctor for further analysis.

In most cases, a doctor will prescribe you an Amsler Grid in order to take the test, and you should follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to take the test, and how frequently you take the test.

Why the Amsler Grid?

Now that you know how to take the Amsler Grid test, why should you consider taking it?

The most important reason to take the Amsler Grid test is, as earlier stated, because it allows you to stay a step ahead of the curve when it comes to AMD. The Amsler Grid’s chief purpose is early detection against AMD and other related eye conditions.

Using the Amsler Grid means the possibility of detecting the symptoms of AMD before the condition sets in, which can increase the chance of recovery. Not to mention the amsler Grid is portable, and easy to use.

With this in mind, there are a variety of ways to treat and detect AMD and all other harmful eye conditions. The amsler Grid is one such tool that is easy to use, able to be done anywhere, and can be a good starting point in your fight against a serious eye condition.

If you are interested in taking the Amsler Grid test, or are concerned with your results from one, talk to your eye doctor today about your next steps!

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