Age Related Macular Degeneration is a disease that causes progressive damage to the macula. When the macula does not function correctly, central vision is affected by blurriness, dark areas or distortion.
Are you at risk for AMD?
The major risk factors for acquiring AMD are:
• Over age 60
• Family history of AMD
Other risk factors include:
• Cigarette smoking
• Hypertension and / or high cholestrol
If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for an evaluation.
Testing Your Vision With the Amsler Grid
You can check your vision daily by using an Amsler grid like the one pictured here. You may find changes in your vision that you wouldn't notice otherwise. Putting the grid on the front of your refrigerator is a good way to remember to look at it each day.
To use the grid:
1. Wear your reading glasses and hold this grid 12 to 15 inches away from your face in good light
2. Cover one eye
3. Look directly at the center dot with the uncovered eye
4. While looking directly at the center dot, note whether all lines of the grid are straight or if any areas are distorted, blurred or dark
5. Repeat this procedure with the other eye
6. If any area of the grid looks wavy, blurred or dark, contact your ophthalmologist immediately
What the results mean?
If any area of the grid pattern appears distorted (for example, wavy or blurred) while you are looking at the dot with either eye, tell your helper or make a mental note if you're alone.
An abnormality in the appearance of the Amsler Grid pattern may indicate macular degeneration—a disorder at the back of the eye that affects central vision. If you notice any such abnormality, you should arrange for a professional eye exam. Please note that passing this check does not guarantee the absence of macular degeneration. Any noticeable change in your vision should be reported to your eye doctor.