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.

Don's story

Just overnight, eight years ago, I lost the central vision in my left eye which was diagnosed as wet Macular Degeneration. This had the makings of a complete life change for me as I had recently retired and I was starting to really enjoy my two hobbies.

The first was Cake Icing which I had been doing for over 20 years. I iced wedding cakes, 21st and celebration cakes, sometimes up to three a week. With only one eye to focus with and trying to do fine lace work etc., my condition would definitely put this out of reach.

Don Hopkirk

My second hobby was wood turning which I had taken up a couple of years previously on retiring from a lifetime in the carpentry and joinery trade. Endeavouring to do fine detail work on a lathe with one eye is not the most sensible of activities.

In many respects I was really fortunate that the macular problem happened so quickly as it made me seek medical advice immediately and I was visiting an Eye Specialist in Auckland within two weeks.

With the treatment I have been able to receive over these past years, my vision has been restored to give me near normal eyesight and I have been able to play bowls and enjoy the hobbies I love.

I have since given up my cake decorating activities but have expanded my woodturning as well as experimenting with a little carving. I haven’t had so much fun in years and it certainly keeps me from getting under my wife’s feet!

I feel that I cannot speak highly enough of all the medical staff I have come in contact with during my journey over the past few years, as without them and the drugs now available, I feel certain that my life would not be as full as it is.

At this point I would plead with anyone who is aware of any distortion whatsoever in their vision, to contact an Eye Specialist as soon as possible. Acting as quickly as I did gave me my successful result. Of that I am absolutely certain. So please remember that the sooner you get to the experts,
the sooner life can be lived to the full.

Sadly Don passed away in 2012 but he was very supportive of MDNZ and keen for his story to be told. He had helped as a volunteer for MDNZ on several occasions and donated some of his beautiful wood carvings for fundraising auctions.

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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