Many people may have tried out the Amsler Grid Test for fun on social media, encouraged by friends to see if they can see blind spots or wavy lines without knowing the reason for the eye test.
The Amsler Grid eye test was designed for the detection of vision impairment and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) which is also useful for patients who are suffering vision impairment due to diabetes. The visual field test is a simple one that can be performed online or physically at home.
Most of us may call the condition ageing eyes but if a diabetic patient leaves it untreated, the blurry vision could lead to something more serious in the future.
Macular degeneration is quite a common age-related disorder that many elderly patients consider a common problem without going for a check-up. People over the age of 50 with diabetes may start to experience blurred vision or eye strain when focusing on a central object due to the thinning of the macula, a part of the retina responsible for producing a direct line of sight into the eyes.
A white form of fatty protein called drusen develops under the retina when a patient develops Dry Macular Degeneration. This causes the macular to become thinner by the day, and sometimes, it may even stop working altogether.
Macular degeneration can be treated with a simple everyday test and exercise that could possibly stop the degeneration in its tracks. Unfortunately, it may also turn into Wet AMD which is a more serious form of the condition.
The more conscious we are about age-related eye problems in elderly patients with diabetes, the easier it is to slow down the degeneration process.
So, the next time you speak to a diabetic ageing person who has trouble with their vision, ask them about the following potential age-related macular degeneration symptoms:
Inability to see straight lines
Impaired vision in one or both eyes
Needing brighter lights when reading
Needing to see things up close
Difficulty seeing things in places with low lighting
Printed words appear more and more blurry over time
Decreasing ability to recognise faces
Sees a well-defined blind spot in their field of vision
Decreasing ability to see the brightness of colours
Since Dry Macular Degeneration may only affect one eye, the good eye may compensate for the worsening condition of the other eye. What we can do is to perform the eye test regularly in hope of slowing down or halting the development of the condition.
Do, however, note that using the grid should not replace a comprehensive eye examination or consultation with a professional, specialist, or doctor for both the vision problem and diabetes.
Patients may first detect a worsening ability to detect objects from afar, affecting either one eye or both. Sometimes, it can affect both eyes at the same time. The Amsler Grid Test is a simple at-home check-up to determine the early cause of eye strain or visual impairment.
Because vision may worsen over time for elderly patients with diabetes, the condition will start hampering the patient’s ability to do simple things like cooking, reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The degree to which one is affected by macular degeneration differs from one person to another. Some may experience an inconvenient loss of central vision, while others may not.
With early detection and home management for the condition, you can delay vision loss. It’s a quick and simple daily routine that takes less than a minute to perform.
It's too common for people who assume they are suffering from ageing eyes without doing anything about it until it is too late. Early detection, intervention, and daily monitoring of blurred vision for elderly patients with diabetes are crucial.
As you can see, the Amsler Grid Test is a simple enough tool that can be used every day and it’s easier to distinguish more serious eye problems and symptoms from eye power problems or astigmatism.
The patterned grid contains a dot right in the middle of it. By using the Amsler Grid Eye Test, we will be able to identify problem spots in your vision field.
Here’s how to use the Amsler Grid Test.The diabetic patient should be wearing his or her usual glasses before doing the Amsler Grid Eye Test.
Find a room or location with good lighting
Hold the Amsler Grid test about 12 to 15 inches away from your face
Cover one eye
Concentrate on the dot at the centre of the grid while still covering one eye
While still focusing on the central dot, notice if there are wavy lines within your sight, or if any part of the grid looks dark, blurry, or even blank
Relay the message to your healthcare provider or record it in a journal
Repeat the same for your other eye
Doing this simple test or home check-up every day will give you a heads up about your ageing eyes before contacting your doctor or ophthalmologist.
If you’re between the ages of 50 and 60 and have two or more of the abovementioned symptoms, call a house call doctor or specialist for a consultation, especially if you’re also suffering from other chronic conditions like diabetes.
Because patients with age-related macular degeneration may have progressively worsening eyesight, this may lead to social isolation and depression. Early intervention stops the condition from progressing to wet macular degeneration which will lead to an even more rapid loss of vision.
If bad eyesight with wet age-related macular degeneration goes untreated for a few months or longer, the blurred vision may be an early indication of retinal scarring which may then lead to irreversible vision loss. Consult your doctor regularly about how your diabetes is doing, continue monitoring your vision with the Amsler Grid Test daily, and alert your doctor if you notice rapid changes in your vision.
By performing this test on a potential diabetic patient, we can quickly detect signs and symptoms of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) which is linked to diabetic retinopathy. Common symptoms of DME include double, blurred vision, and floaters.
It is best to use the test on a daily basis and alert your doctor if your sight is deteriorating.
It is important to keep up with your diabetes tests and management to keep the condition under control. We are, after all, only a tap on the app, a phone call, or an email away!
Speedoc consists of a team of doctors, nurses, medical professionals who are trained to attend to elderly patients for eye vision strain symptoms in the comfort of their own homes. It also gives caregivers the comfort of knowing that on-site visits can be easily arranged and doctors are always just a phone call away.