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.


Ross' Story


A decade ago I was diagnosed with Drusen, which is an eye condition that can lead to MD. My optometrist gave me a copy of the Amsler Grid and I would regularly check my eyes with it. I am so glad that I knew to check each eye for early changes in my vision because this has saved my sight.

During a business meeting last year I noticed how similar an adjacent building’s window mullions were to the Amsler Grid’s lines. Out of curiosity, I began to check each eye and noticed the mullions appeared as wavy lines with my left eye so I went to the optometrist as soon as I could. I was very concerned and disappointed when I was diagnosed with wet MD in my left eye. Even though I was still young, I knew there was a good chance I could become blind within two years.

A retina specialist advised me about a new treatment and I started it straight away. The vision in my left eye has improved markedly and I’m back to 20/20 vision.

Apparently I was very fortunate. Seeking treatment early meant the abnormal blood vessels that form wet macular degeneration did not have chance to permanently damage my central vision. A few weeks’ delay in seeking treatment could have resulted in a very different outcome.

Recognising macular degeneration’s early warning signs saved my sight.



    Ross Legh3

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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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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