A person taking an Amsler Grid eye exam must study the grid with each eye, which is accomplished by covering one eye and looking at the grid with the other, according to WebMD. The test can either be administered by a doctor or taken at home.
The Amsler Grid is used to identify signs of age-related macular degeneration, explains WebMD. It is a simple line grid with a black dot in the middle. When looking at the grid, the test-taker should be concerned if the lines appear wavy or curved, or if any blank or dark spots appear, other than the black dot in the middle. WebMD also features a waved grid, to give test-takers an example.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration, according to the Macular Degeneration Partnership. Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common and is caused by a breakdown or thinning of the macula’s retinal pigment epithelial cells. WebMD recommends that anyone with dry age-related macular degeneration utilize the Amsler Grid once a day, or as often as recommended by a doctor. Wet age-related macular degeneration, though it affects a smaller percentage of the population, is the most severe case and is responsible for the highest percentage of vision loss due to macular degeneration. It is caused by the thickening and ultimate breakage of the membrane under the retina.
The Macular Degeneration Partnership suggests that those at the age of risk for age-related macular degeneration have a dilated eye examination by an eye doctor annually, or at least every two years, to identify early vision loss, which may not appear using the Amsler Grid.