What to Look for in a Low Vision Magnifier?

Writing hands with magnifying glass

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There is a lot of new technology available for those with poor vision, but one of the most trusted low vision devices is a magnifier. Magnifiers for low vision make a significant impact while reading – whether on paper or on a screen.

Magnifiers may assist you in reading regardless of whether you have glaucoma, cataracts, or age-related macular degeneration. However, before you rush out and get any kind of magnification, you should understand that there is no such thing as a universal poor vision magnifier. There are distinct kinds of visual loss.

Low Vision Magnifier Brief History

Magnifiers: A Brief History

Magnification is critical when using any kind of low vision aid. Low vision is often referred to as “vision loss without sight,” implying that there is no loss of vision. Thus, vision loss may result in continued seeing but frequently without peripheral vision, making it more difficult to identify shapes and objects, such as letters.

Magnifiers are often used to aid with reading. Magnifiers are available in a variety of forms and sizes. The built-in lights on the majority of magnifiers illuminate the paper when the user aims the magnifier at the letters to be read.
Other poor vision magnifiers include a tiny color display or a plain print screen. Certain magnifiers include magnifiers that allow the user to zoom in on individual letters.

Magnifiers: Four Different Types

There is a particularly special kind of magnifier that works well for individuals who have glaucoma. These low vision magnifiers are effective for those with severe vision loss. One of the most often utilized applications of this kind of magnifier is to enlarge the characters on a word processor.

This functionality is pre-installed on Windows and also works with Word 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013, as well as WordPad and a variety of other programs. Certain Mac users may benefit from the usage of a PC magnifier. This is because clicking the mouse does not require stretching.

The four primary kinds of poor vision magnifiers are as follows: A magnification enables you to view the text from a distance of up to 16 feet. The majority of these are available in desktop configurations. enables you to read text from a distance of up to 16 feet. The majority of these are available in desktop configurations.

When is it Appropriate to Use a Mobile or Computer Magnifier?

The most popular kind of magnification used by individuals with vision loss is a mobile or computer magnifier with a magnifying screen. In fact, mobile magnifiers were the initial concept for a low vision aid.

You may use the phone to read text or to see large-scale print by holding it up to your eye. While they are excellent, they may be cumbersome and tough to use on the move. Computers with a magnifier on the screen are the way to go since they are more compact and take up less room in a handbag or pocket. This may be more convenient for certain users than mobile magnifiers.

What Kinds of Magnifiers Are Available?

There are many kinds of magnifiers available, and no one form of poor vision magnification is superior to another. Electronic and optical are the two primary kinds.

Consider the Following When Choosing the Correct Low Vision Aid

Consider the Following When Choosing the Correct Low Vision Aid

According to the Low Vision Medical Association (LVM), many of the versions marketed in the United States and Canada include two lenses: one for focusing on the letters on the page and another for focusing on the picture.

However, it is important to search around for the model that is right for you. When looking for a magnifier, you’ll want to get one that allows you to see well at a distance and read clearly up close. As a result, it’s critical to evaluate available models and pick one that works best for your particular kind of vision loss.

Always choose the most convenient option so that you may utilize it throughout the day. You can easily read the pages and content. You will be able to read up to 20 to 30 pages each day – without experiencing any discomfort.

Magnification capacity

Are you suffering from serious eyesight loss? This requires consideration of the magnifier’s magnification capability. A magnifier’s lowest magnification setting is 1, and at this setting, your natural reading or other senses compensate for the magnification. Therefore, if you have poor eyesight and are reading, 1 magnification may be the most you can expect for.

If you’re reading with normal eyesight, you’re unlikely to need anything bigger than three. If you read with strong eyesight, you’ll require anything better than a 5. However, you must choose something that is compatible with your vision, which is why a magnifier with a magnification of between 6 and 8 is suggested.

The diameter of the lens

The first consideration is the lens size. For those of us who have full macular degeneration, our vision deteriorates as the macula deteriorates. The macula is the region of the eye that perceives fine detail, such as while reading, seeing colors, or recognizing faces.

When the macula degenerates, it ceases to function and the patient loses all visual acuity. That implies that the answer for many of us is to get amplification. When choosing a magnifier, the first consideration is whether you want an electronic or a manual magnifier.

To get the highest magnification possible, you’ll need an electronic magnifier. Magnification occurs as a result of eye and hand movement while using a manual magnifier.

The kind of lens

The kind of lens

Generally, eye specialists can determine which kind of lens you should wear. There are three distinct kinds of lenses available: Typical Lenses These are the most common ones. Because they allow in less light than bifocal or trifocal lenses, your magnifier will need to be closer to your eyes than it does for someone who wears a bifocal or trifocal lens.

Apart from being more pleasant for your eyes, these lenses let you see well from a distance. This is because your retina has an internal lens that transforms light into electrical and enables you to see.

The less expensive conventional lenses feature greenish tinted lenses. Bifocal and trifocal lenses are often colored. These lenses are available exclusively with a doctor’s prescription.

Contrast and color

Certain magnifiers display just black-and-white pictures or images with a restricted range of gray levels. You may come across a magnifier that is very useful for night reading but is totally worthless for reading during the day. By contrast, some magnifiers enable you to view text and vivid colors shown on a bright screen.

You may need a magnifier with a high contrast setting or one with a broader viewing range to see fine detail. Depth As with any visual aid, the proper size and orientation of a magnifier must be bought. While the majority of poor vision patients should have their low vision magnifier placed in front of their eye, you may need to install it directly over their eye to maximize the advantages.

Viewing angle

Most essential, a magnifier should be capable of magnifying an image as near as possible without sacrificing too much picture quality or color. This is a very important distinction.

If a person’s field of vision is 20 inches and the magnification is the size of an iPad, the person can see far with the iPad magnifier but not well enough to read text or see close-up objects.

What degree of magnification Because the human eye has a visual acuity range of 20/70 (poor) to 20/3000 (near perfect), the easiest method to establish the appropriate magnification is to examine the circles on an eye chart.

When the letters are too tiny, a person may be unable to read any letters or may only see a faint outline, necessitating the use of a magnifying with high magnification.

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It’s critical to understand that if you need poor vision aids, you’ll need to locate a variety of magnifiers that work for your reading and visual difficulties.

Consider your preferred method of reading – print or electronic? There are many options, but do your study to determine which magnification range is optimal for your vision loss.

Magnifiers are an excellent tool for assisting you with everyday tasks, but it is critical that you do research to determine which kind and model of magnifier would be the greatest fit for your specific requirements.

Are you looking for low vision devices to aid in vision improvement or are you a professional services provider that assists individuals who have a visual impairment, poor vision, or blindness? We can assist you! Kindly contact us to discuss your prospects or visit our Low Vision Clinic near to you.


About the Author:
Dr. Shaun Larsen

Dr. Shaun Larsen

Dr. Shaun Larsen is an optometrist who specializes in low vision services and enhancing vision with contact lenses. He has a passion for making people's lives better by helping them see well enough to read, write, or drive again. He always keeps up with the latest technology so he can help people regain their independence.


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