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.


News & Media Releases

Stories and news about Macular Degeneration are often shared throughout the media. Below are some recent MDNZ articles, click on the ‘Read More’ button to find out more.

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COVID-19 and Macular Degeneration

31 March 2020

New Zealand is currently at COVID-19 alert level 4. This is to reduce the impact and hopefully, eliminate Covid-19 from our country.  We must all do our part.  Information about Covid-19 is available on the Government Website:  We are instructed to stay home with only essential services, including health clinics, to remain open.  There has been a majoar reprioritisation of health care services.  

What does this mean if I have Macular Degeneration?

read more

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Age-Related MD:  Model of Care Assessment & Recommendations

31 August 2017

After a number of years consulting with the sector regarding a model of care for eye health, the Ministry of Health commissioned Ernst and Young (EY) to compile a areport titled "Age-related Macular Degeneration - Model of Care assessment and recommendations".  The report was finalised in August 2017 and covers 3 broad areas:

1. Prevention, early detection and risk stratification

2. Intravitreal anti-VEGF treatment

3. Low vision rehabilitation

Macular Degeneration NZ (MDNZ) has worked closely with the Ministry of Health throughout the report process and is pleased to see a number of the 20 recommendations already being implemented.  For example, PHARMAC has approved the use of Eylea as a second line agent when specific PHARMAC imposed criteria are met.  This is great news for patients with MD unresponsive to Avastin.  Further, the Ministry of Health has adopted diagnostic and treatment guidelines that are being rolled out across all District Health Boards (DHB) in NZ.

However, there is still work to do.  MDNZ currently awaits a commitment to increased awareness, prevention and early detection of MD.  MDNZ continues to influence the development and implementation of the one free eye check policy adopted by the coalition government that should assist early detection of MD.   Until such time as the government financially supports awareness and education activities the level of awareness of MD in NZ will remain low (currently 59%).  This contrasts starkly with an awareness level of greater than 90% in 

Recently, several independent organisations and individuals with an interest in low vision rehabilitation, including MDNZ, consulted with the Ministry of Health in order to better define additional work that needs to be undertaken in this area.  Collectively, we continue to await outcomes from this consultation.

MDNZ encourages you to take a look at the report.   Please let MDNZ know what you think, in particular any ways in which we can continue progression on the model of care to support people living with MD.


read more

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Pioneering Stem Cell Therapy 

BBC News 20 March 2018

Doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London have taken a major step towards curing the most common form of blindness.

The Chair of MDNZ's Medical Committee, Dr Andrew Thompson, comments that the trial results are encouraging but the reality of this as a routine treatment is still many years away.   It is not a curative procedure, says Dr Thompson but it is encouraging to see new technology advancing the fight against sight threatening vision loss in such diseases as MD. 

read more

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Vision for 2020 Campaign

MDNZ is seeking support for the Vision for 2020 Campaign, a new initiative that will save New Zealander's sight.  Over the next 3 years, MDNZ aims to make significant inroads into reducing the incidence and impact of macular degeneration.     


read more

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Hook, Line & Sinker

An oldie but a goodie!   Hook, Line & Sinker, produced in 2011 by Andrea Bosshard & Shane Loader, is still relevant to people with Macular Degeneration and has kindly been released to MDNZ by the producers.

This NZ film takes a few weeks in the lives of a very believable Kiwi family and puts them under the lens as PJ faces his future when he fails an eye test due to MD.   


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New Years Honour

Congratulations to our MDNZ Ambassador, Philip Sherry, who was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in this year's New Year's Honours List.    


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Online AMD Toolkit

A global coalition of patient organisations concerned with vision health, ageing and avoidable blindness led by Retina International, has launched a multistakeholder online toolkit designed to improve the understanding of Age-related Macular Degeneration - AMD.


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Support MDNZ Fundraiser

The latest 2017-2018 Entertainment Book is out now.    Your guide to the most popular restaurants, attractions, shopping, travel and more.   20% of every membership sold contributes to MDNZ.   Share this link with your friends and family and support MDNZ.

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Awareness & Education Seminar on MD

12 August 2017

Listen to Ophthalmologist, Dr Andrew Thompson, speak at the recent Tauranga Awareness & Education seminar.   

Learn about the impact of macular degeneration and the medical research, treatments and resources that are available.

Macular Degeneration NZ holds Awareness & Education seminars nationwide.  Watch our website to see if there is one scheduled near you.


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 Bordered Cover for Avastin Report

"Where You Live Determines How Well You Can See"

Dr Andrew Thompson BPharm(Hons) MBChB, RANZCO
20 March 2016                          

The purpose of this report is to highlight the need for equitable access to Avastin for all New Zealanders across 20 District Health Boards in New Zealand


 read more


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One News interviews Dr Dianne Sharp

 17 December 2016

One News interviews Dr Dianne Sharp on the report which Macular Degeneration NZ commissioned from Deloitte Access Economics on the socioeconomic cost of macular degeneration in New Zealand.



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The Cost of Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Deloitte Research Paper

15 November 2016

Macular Degeneration New Zealand recently commissioned Deloittte's to conduct comprehensive research to determine the socioeconomic cost of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in New Zealand in order to assist with raising awareness of the economic cost of AMD so that action can be taken to eliminate blindness and vision loss from AMD.

To read the full report click 'Download' below.




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Professor Bird - The Treatment Revolution

9 November 2016 

Renowned British Ophthalmologist, Professor Alan Bird, is recognised as one of the pioneers of Medical Retina. He is a Professor and Consultant at the Institute of Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.   

In November 2016 Professor Bird held a symposium at the Auckland Museum at which he discussed one of the latest advances in medicine for macular degeneration in the last decade. 

  watch video solid


Dr Dianne Sharp - The Treatment Revolution

9 November 2016

Dr Dianne Sharp, ophthalmologist, retinal specialist and founding chairperson of MDNZ  summarises the findings of a report “The Socio-economic impact of Macular Degeneration in NZ” to the audience at The Treatment Revolution Symposium in Auckland. MDNZ commissioned this Deloitte Access Economics report which was launched in Parliament November 2016. 

 watch video solid

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Ross Legh - A patient story

November 2016

Macular Degeneration patient, Ross Legh, shares the inspirational story of his journey with macular degeneration, the importance of early detection, knowing how to identify changes and when to act.

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Early detection saves sight

TV1 'Kiwi Living' 24 August 2016

Join Sir Peter Leitch on his journey of discovery into the importance of looking after your eyesight

 read more

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Blind spot on eyesight treatment

Sunday Star Times 5 June 2016

Thousands of Kiwis are going blind from a preventable condition but treatments are not receiving appropriate funding, doctors say.

read more


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A first in the Southern Hemisphere

4 March 2016 

A Whakatane woman with MD is the first person in the Southern Hemisphere to have a real life twinkle in her eye after receiving life changing surgery to improve her vision by implanting a tiny telescope in her eye.

read more

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by Jennifer Bowden NZ LISTENER 6 June 2013

It's the leading cause of vision loss but most of us have never heard of it and have no idea how to prevent it...                                                                                                                                                      read more

 What is MD Video shot

Introduction to Macular Degeneration

Watch our informative video on Macular Degeneration - learn all about macular degeneration, find out how it affects the lives of a growing number of NZer's and hear personal stories of people living with this age-related eye disease which is the leading cause of blindness in NZ.



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What is Macular Degeneration? Central TV

25th June, 2013

Viv Jones talks to Hillary Entwistle from Central TV about Macular Degeneration.

 read more


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.

Test Button

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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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