FAQ’s – What is the best optical magnifier for me?

When choosing an optical magnifier, the most important thing to do is talk to your eye care professional, such as an Optometrist, low vision specialist, or Ophthalmologist.  Your eye care professional is going to be your best source in finding which magnification level will work for your vision. 

The variety of optical magnifiers may seem overwhelming, here is a quick break down of each type:

  • Non-illuminated
    • Dome
      • Simple to use
      • Sits directly on paper
      • Bulky and difficult to carry when out and about
      • Limited range of magnification levels available
    • Pocket
      • Closes to protect lens while being carried in purse or pocket
      • Small field of view; used for spot or quick reading
      • Full range of magnification levels available
    • Page
      • Available in very low magnification levels
      • Distortion caused by the large size of the magnifier
      • Not usually recommended
  • Illuminated
    • Handheld
      • Held at a specific distance from eye and paper depending on the level of magnification
      • Available in pocket size
      • Full range of magnification levels available
      • Higher magnification levels equate to smaller lenses
    • Stand
      • Designed to sit directly on paper at the optimal viewing distance
      • Full range of magnification levels available
      • Higher magnification levels equate to smaller lenses
    • Lamp
      • Hands free for more versatility
      • Available in low levels of magnification
      • Not portable; limited to one location for use

Once you have ascertained which level of magnification you will need to read comfortably, this will help you to eliminate options that aren’t suitable for your eye condition.  The next step in choosing an optical magnifier would be to consider which activities will require magnification, where you will be using the magnifier, and if increased lighting is necessary. 

At home your lighting varies by room or time of day, which would require an illuminated magnifier.  Deciding between a handheld or stand magnifier will depend on your comfort holding a magnifier while reading.  If you experience tremors in your hands, you may find stand magnifiers to be easier to use.  Crafts and hobbies may need to be done with both hands, so using a magnifying lamp would be a great option.

When you go to the market or to buy clothes, these areas are usually well-lit, and may only require simple magnification from a pocket magnifier.  Restaurants, though, tend to vary drastically when it comes to lighting, and most would require additional light to read menus and specials.

Offices and classrooms tend to provide excellent lighting and you may have a specific work station.  Keeping a dome magnifier handy is helpful for quick and simple reading. 

If your vision has diminished to the point that standard optical magnifiers no longer work for you, consider switching to an electronic video magnifier.  The adjustable magnification, large viewing area, and variety of contrast colors will allow you to find the magnification that is right for you.

Want to learn about more useful tools that will help you maintain an independent and fun lifestyle?  Do you need further assistance in finding the optical magnifier that is right for you or want to be connected to your local low vision specialist?  Connect with us!

Jan 29, 2020

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