Test yourself for wet age-related macular degeneration at home

If you are living with signs of AMD, a simple, daily routine that takes less than one minute can help you to monitor your vision.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK. The older we get, the greater the risk of developing the condition. It most commonly develops between the ages of 50 and 60 and is estimated that over 4 million people are living with signs of AMD with around 10 - 15% of those progressing to to wet AMD

Vision in people with wet AMD can experience rapid change in vision, but in the more common dry AMD, vision usually diminishes gradually, so the patient may not be aware of how much sight they have lost.

For patients living with dry AMD it is very important that they know the signs of wet AMD developing. Rapid intervention is required when wet AMD develops to reduce the risk of significant sight loss.

A common sign of wet AMD developing is noticing straight lines are wavy or distorted. An effective way of monitoring this is using an Amsler grid at least once a week.

Amsler grid


Click Here to download a printable Amsler grid.

Ophthalmologists often use an Amsler grid to test for early signs of AMD and to check if your condition has changed in any way. It is a simple square grid with a dot in the middle and is designed to show problem spots in your field of vision.

How to use the Amsler grid test

  1. Wearing your reading glasses, hold the grid at normal reading distance in good light.
  2. Cover one eye with your hand.
  3. Look directly at the center dot and try to stay focused on it.
  4. While looking directly at the dot, notice if all grid lines look straight or if any lines or areas look distorted, blurry, wavy, dark or blank.
  5. Follow the same steps with the other eye.

Important: If you notice any irregularities such as wavy lines or blurry areas, mark the areas on the chart and report to your optician or eye hospital as soon as possible. Take the chart with you to your appointment. If you are in any doubt, call the OcuPlan rapid advice line.

NOTE: Conducting an Amsler test at home does not replace a routine eye test at your opticians.

How to protect your vision

There are few early AMD symptoms, therefore it is important to have your eyes tested regularly. There aren't any ways to cure AMD but fortunately it progresses very slowly, so the best advice is to avoid things that may speed up the progression of the disease and to take appropriate steps such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Stop smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Wear sunglasses with full UVA and UVB protection
  • Eating a diet rich in vitamins such as lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega 3. These can be found in eggs, oily fish and brightly coloured vegetables i.e.spinach, bell peppers and kale.
  • Regular eye tests
  • OcuPlan's mission is to protect people’s vision by making eye care more accessible and affordable for the millions of patients in the UK who require monitoring for long-term eye conditions such as AMD. To find out more call us on 0207 173 5200.

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    About OcuPlan

    OcuPlan offers the gold standard of clinical care for patients with long-term eye conditions to help minimise the risk of sight loss.