The Amsler grid is an effective way for patients to monitor changes in their central vision and is often recommended for patients with macular diseases. Patients with significant macular disease are often advised to check the Amsler grid daily. The grid itself is simply a small square of graph paper with a dot in the center. Patients often place the grid on a mirror, refrigerator, or some other prominent place in the house where they will see it and remember to check it daily.
To check the grid, you should be wearing your reading glasses. The grid should be held at the normal distance and position in which you would hold a piece of paper you are reading. One eye should be covered at a time, so that the grid is viewed with each eye separately for a few seconds. Since a healthy eye can compensate for an eye with vision changes, it is very important to cover the other eye when looking at the grid.
Several types of changes may occur on the grid. The straight lines may appear bent, curved or distorted. Sometimes an area of the grid may appear darker or disappear entirely. Or the central dot may disappear. Any of these changes can indicate progression of macular disease. If the grid appears changed, it should be checked again in a few hours. If the changes persist, call the Illinois Retina Associates office early on the next working day.
If you would like an Amsler grid, please provide us your with your full name and mailing address, and we will send you a magnetic grid. Or you can download the Amsler grid on this screen. Simply click on the icon labeled.