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.

I had no idea my life was about to change forever when I visited by optometrist for a routine check-up five years ago.   I expected him to talk about my glasses so was shocked when he told me that I could go blind because I had 'dry macular degeneration' - something I'd never even heard of.  I was scared of losing my eyesight.

My sight had been getting worse for a while but I thought that was a normal thing related to my age.  It's scary to think there are lots of people out there who assume they have age-related eyesight problems when they actually have MD.

After getting the news I went on the internet and read articles that confirmed my otpometrist's view that I could go blind over time.   It really bothered me and I suffered from depression for around six months after I found out.

Even though the diagnosis came as a shock and my MD later changed from dry to wet (which is even worse) overall I feel that I've been really lucky.  The MD was diagnosed in time and I had regular treatment that saved my vision.

MD is with you forever but the treatment meant mine was stopped from getting any worse so I can still play tennis, table tennis, swim, drive and work.   When I was diagnosed I was scared I would lose the vision that let me do those things, so I'm really glad the MD was spotted in time.

I'm no longer depressed and am looking forward to the future.  I am happy.


 Grant Thompson  

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.

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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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