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.

COVID-19 and Macular Degeneration


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 major reprioritisation of healthcare services.


What does this mean if I have Macular Degeneration?


RANZCO (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists) have issued guidelines:

  • Most routine appointments in Eye Clinics will be deferred to a later date.

  • High urgency is given to:

Conditions with recent, severe vision loss or vision threatening conditions AND

Patients requiring injections to treat neovascular (or wet) macular degeneration as well as other sight threatening conditions, including diabetic macular oedema and retinal vein occlusion.


What about my injection treatments for Macular Degeneration?


  • If you are currently having regular eye injections, it is important that you continue with your treatments.  Your specialist will aim to safely extend the time between your treatments to limit the number of treatments and visits you require. This is called “treat-and -extend”. If your eyes are stable, you will be treated with a slightly longer interval before your next visit.


  • If your eye disease is not stabilized, the time between treatments may be reduced.



  • Fewer patients will be booked into clinics to ensure you remain distanced from other patients. Your driver or accompanying person, should remain out of the clinic if possible.


  • If you are unwell with a fever or new, continuous cough or other symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have been in contact with someone who has signs of or been diagnosed with COVID-19, DO NOT COME TO THE EYE CLINIC. Phone ahead to discuss your case. Talk to your GP (by phone) or the COVID-19 Healthline team on 0800 3585453.


  • Eye doctors understand that some patients may be too worried to attend their appointment. If you are concerned, phone your clinic and your doctor may be able to have a phone consultation to discuss concerns and come to a joint decision regarding further injections.


  • Macular Degeneration New Zealand has a free Macular Degeneration Help Line 0800 622 852 (0800-MACULA). During the current Covid-19 alerts, there will be access to an ophthalmologist to discuss your concerns or questions.


What if I have Atrophic of Dry Macular Degeneration?


  • Routine appointments to monitor atrophic or dry macular degeneration will be deferred.

  • All patients should continue to monitor their vision with an Amsler grid. 


What if I have new symptoms?


  • Check your Amsler grid with each eye individually, using your reading glasses. Check for any change.

  • If you notice a significant change, particularly with distortion of the lines, contact your Eye Clinic or optometrist. If it is suspected that you have developed wet macular degeneration, requiring treatment, you will be seen in an Eye Clinic.

Please note that this advice may change if healthcare services need to be reprioritised further because of the coronavirus outbreak. This may affect some areas of New Zealand more than others. We will endeavour to provide the most up to date information for patients.


Stay safe.

Dr Dianne Sharp

Medical Adviser for Macular Degeneration NZ


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

 MDNZ Website 3steps

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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