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How accurate are Amsler Grid Eye Exams?

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Quick Answer

Using an Amsler Grid eye exam is one of the simplest methods to test for macular degeneration, a condition that deteriorates the retina and inhibits vision. It does require the user to interpret the results, which might lead to an inadequate self-evaluation of the progression of the disease.

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Full Answer

A simple test, the traditional Amsler Grid eye exam resembles graph paper with a dot in the center of intersecting lines. The subject focuses alternating eyes on the dot. It is crucial that the patient tested each of the eyes in turn as using both can mask the disease. Macular degeneration is detected, if the subject perceives wavy or distorted lines on the grid.

Physicians use the system to help macular degeneration patients self-assess the progression of the disease, although it’s considered a primitive test and may not catch early symptoms of the debilitating ailment.

To properly diagnose the condition, an ophthalmologist or optometrist can perform a fluorescein angiography, which checks for abnormalities in the macula. Treatment of the disease is available depending on the severity and type of the condition and can include vitamin supplementation, medication, laser photocoagulation and photodynamic therapy.

The Amsler Grid was developed in 1945 by Swiss ophthalmologist Marc Amsler. To obtain a test, contact a local eye care professional.

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