Amsler Grid

The Amsler grid is a useful tool to detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula (the central part of the retina).

Report any irregularity to your eye care professional immediately.

The grid does not replace having your macula tested by an eye care professional, particularly if you are over 50 yrs old or have any risk factors for macular degeneration.

Amsler Grid

How to do it

  1. Cover one eye, then focus on the dot in the centre.
  2. Do any of the lines look wavy, blurred or distorted?
  3. Are there any missing areas or dark areas in the grid?
  4. Don't forget to test
    both eyes.

Colin's story

As a writer, and an occasional artist, my first reaction to being told that I had Macular Degeneration was to think what life would be like if I couldn’t see all that was around me. How would I manage to continue to be creative, or more to the point, would it be possible at all? The thought was hard to accept at first but fortunately this state of mind didn’t last long. I replaced it with a question. If I could no longer write and paint, what could I do instead?

Years ago I played ‘party’ guitar. Songs in those days had simple lyrics and comprised around four chords which meant that just about everyone ‘played’ the instrument and sang along at parties. It had been of some regret that I had never learnt to play the guitar to a higher standard. Perhaps I could now do so for sight would be secondary to touch and sound. That then led me to think about the harmonica, another musical instrument I’d always admired. Maybe I could learn that as well. Suddenly, from being potentially creatively denied, I might have a whole new musical life ahead of me.

There is a moral here. We’ve all heard about one door closing and another opening. Just because one’s sight is impaired it does not mean that a door is permanently slammed in one’s face. To continue to enjoy life and be productive is still possible. I bought a new laptop that allowed me to increase the type face size by as much as 150% so that I no longer needed to peer deep into the screen in the hope of reading what was there. I have a large TV so that I can follow sports and news without inconvenience. In other words, I am learning to adjust to my disability just as a landmine victim learns to walk again.

Difficult as MD might be, I think MD sufferers should be grateful that the disease is not accompanied by pain like so many other illnesses. MD has affected my life style, yes, I have to accept that. But it has not affected my mental state. My advice to other sufferers is to recommend that they do not let it affect theirs either.


Learn more about Macular Degeneration

Find out how MD affects the lives of real New Zealanders. Watch the video, learn about the risks and see how MD is a growing problem in our society.


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Map: Where is MD in NZ?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a growing problem in NZ. Total prevalence is predicted to be 206,908 in 2018.

View more

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Getting tested is simple

There is a quick and easy way to tell if MD affects your vision.  Click on the link below to see if you have the common warning signs.

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 MDNZ Website 3steps

What you need to know

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What's the chance?

In New Zealand MD affects 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 years

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Smokers have 3 times the risk of developing MD and tend to develop MD 10 years earlier than non-smokers

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Is it getting worse?

It is estimated the number of people with MD will increase by 70% by 2030

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More common than you think

Age related Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of blindness

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You need to know!

Of those most at risk (50+) 67% have heard of MD and only 48% understand that it is an eye disorder. *Galaxy Poll March 2014

People with a family history of MD have a 50% chance of inheriting the genetic predisposition of developing MD.

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What if I don't have treatment?

Untreated, the majority of people with wet MD become functionally blind within 2 years

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