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Learning to Live With Macular Degeneration



Learning to Live With Macular Degeneration


If you have AMD, learning how to make the most of your vision is important. Often you can still do many of your favorite things with special low vision tools. These tools can be things like of magnifying tools, handheld computers, electronic items and more.

Also, you can learn how to use your side vision to help you do things. A vision rehabilitation specialist can teach you how to find and use lots of low vision support services and tools.

Ask your ophthalmologist to help you find a vision rehabilitation specialist in your area. The goal is to learn new ways to be as independent as possible.

Using the Amsler grid to test your vision

AMD can cause your vision to change over time. You may not notice these changes when they happen. But you need to catch vision changes as soon as possible. Treating them early can help slow or stop further sight loss. You should use an Amsler grid every day to monitor your vision. One is below for you to use.

Image of an Amsler grid, which patients use to monitor progression of AMD

How to use the Amsler grid:

  • Find a location to put the Amsler grid in a place where you see it every day. Many people keep an Amsler grid on their refrigerator door or on their bathroom mirror.
  • In good light, look at the grid from about 12"“15 inches away. Be sure to wear your reading glasses or contacts if you normally use them.
  • Cover one eye. Look directly at the dot in the center of the grid with your uncovered eye. Notice if any of the lines look bent or wavy. See if any part of the grid looks blurry, dim, or out of shape.
  • Now cover your other eye and do the same this to test your vision. 

Call your ophthalmologist right away if you notice that any lines or parts of the grid look wavy, blurry, or dim.

Amsler grid showing distortion of lines on grid that one might see with AMD

This is what an Amsler grid might look like with blurry, wavy lines, or dim areas.