Medical Definition of Grid, Amsler

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Grid, Amsler: A grid pattern that resembles a checkerboard utilized for examination of the eye. The patient covers one eye and stares at a black dot in the center of the grid. While staring at the dot, the patient may notice that the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy.

This kind of wavy pattern on viewing the Amsler grid is abnormal. It can be an important warning sign of what is called wet age-related macular degeneration. The macula is an area in the retina that is responsible for central (straight-ahead) vision. It deteriorates most often after age 60 resulting in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). An early sign of the dangerous "wet" type of AMD is the wavy appearance of the lines on the Amsler grid. The early diagnosis of wet AMD is critical since laser surgery is urgently needed to preserve sight.

The Amsler grids shown here are reduced in size; eye care specialists have full-size grids in their office and for the patient to use at home.

Amsler grid illustration

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors