Diagnosis of Age-related Macular Degeneration

Reading time: 4 min

The eye specialist may request a series of painless useful tests for the diagnosis of AMD. These tests will reveal if there is any damage in your eyes and/or impaired vision.

Optometric chart

Visual acuity test. Measures your ability to see objects at different distances.

Amsler grid

Amsler grid. A sheet of squared paper with a point in the centre, used to test if you notice any wavy lines or if any disappear.

Eye drops

Dilated eye exam. The doctor will need to apply a few drops which dilate the pupil in order to examine the inside of your eye. The effect of the drops can last from 4 to 24 hours, depending on the patient’s susceptibility.


Fundoscopy or ophthalmoscopy. A light source is used to examine the fundus (back) of the eye, i.e., the retina, the choroid, the blood vessels and the optic disc.

Optical coherence tomography

Optical coherence tomography (OCT). Imaging technique that uses light waves to take photographs of your retina and therefore measure and map its thickness.

Eye and autofluorescence

Autofluorescence. Autofluorescence is a technique used to determine the area affected by retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) atrophy in patients with advanced dry AMD.

Slit lamp

Eye fundus photography. The ophthalmologist uses a specially adapted camera to photograph the back of your eye.

Background ocular angiography

Fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography. This test examines the blood flow in the retina (fluorescein) and the choroid (indocyanine green), the most posterior layers of the eye.

How to use an AMSLER grid

The Amsler grid test is a very straightforward and useful tool for assessing your central vision. This is because it can detect changes in the centre of the retina very early on that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Eye at 30 cm from the Amsler grid

Position your face approximately 30 cm from the paper or the screen

Glasses with a tick indicating that they are correct

If you normally wear glasses or contact lens, put them on

A person covering his right eye during a vision test

Cover one eye

Amsler grid

Stare at the point in the centre of the grid

A person covering his right eye during a vision test

Repeat the process for the other eye

Substantiated information by:

Javier Zarranz Ventura
Mª Socorro Alforja  Castiella
Ricardo P Casaroli Marano

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 21 September 2022

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


Receive the latest updates related to this content.

Thank you for subscribing!

If this is the first time you subscribe you will receive a confirmation email, check your inbox

An error occurred and we were unable to send your data, please try again later.