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The Amsler grid, used since 1945, is a grid of horizontal and vertical lines used to monitor a person's central visual field. The grid was developed by Marc Amsler, a Swiss ophthalmologist. It is a diagnostic tool that aids in the detection of visual disturbances caused by changes in the retina, particularly the macula (e.g. macular degeneration, Epiretinal membrane), as well as the optic nerve and the visual pathway to the brain.
In the test, the person looks with each eye separately at the small dot in the center of the grid. Patients with macular disease may see wavy lines or some lines may be missing.
The original Amsler grid was black and white. A color version with a blue and yellow grid is more sensitive and can be used to test for a wide variety of visual pathway abnormalities, including those associated with the retina, the optic nerve, and the pituitary gland.