Many people purchase a magnifier to assist them with fine or detailed tasks most
have normal levels of vision, but if you are wanting to purchase a magnifier because
of reduced vision, it is essential that you have consulted your Doctor, Optician or
Consultant Ophthalmologist (eye doctor). The reason for this, is that you may have
an eye condition which requires treatment or that can be improved by the provision
of conventional spectacles.
If you have consulted the above and have been informed that your visual condition
cannot be further helped, then please enjoy browsing our website, we do offer
advice and guidance, but we do not profess to offer any alternative for professional
medical advice, we therefore will not accept any liability for any claim arising in
connection with this.
There are many types of magnifier (Low Vision Aid) and it can be very difficult to
choose which will most suit your requirements, we therefore offer some guidelines
and basic information.
A large magnifier is not powerful, the power of a lens governs it's size, the greater
the magnification power the smaller the lens becomes!
It is impossible to make a high powered magnifier which covers a large area.
The stronger a magnifier is, the closer you will need to position it to the object in
view and consequently to your eye!
Suitable magnifiers can help to maintain independence.
If you are able to make out the headlines on Newspapers then a magnifier will
probably be of help in most reading tasks.
It is not easy to use a high powered magnifier, they enlarge the viewed object, but
only provide a small field of view ie: you can only see a few letters at a time.
You will need to be motivated to succeed, keep trying it does get easier!
You cannot harm your eyes by using a magnifier.
Types of Magnifier:
In general there are 8 main types of magnifier (Low Vision Aid)
1. Hand Magnifiers.
2. Stand Magnifiers
3. Illuminated Magnifiers
4. Bar Magnifiers
5. Dome & Brightfield Magnifiers
6. Spectacle Mounted
8. Industrial / Scientific Bench and Hobby Magnifiers
All of the above are available in various shapes, sizes and magnification power.
Available in powers from 1x magnification to 12.5x magnification. They are generally
easy to use but require a steady hand and have to be held at a continuous distance
from the viewed object. They are also available in small pocket versions which are
easy to carry around and can be used when shopping, map reading etc.
These are used when wearing your distance glasses or without spectacles if these
have not been prescribed.Remember, the higher the power of magnification, the
closer you will have to hold the magnifier to your eye and the closer the print will
need to be to the magnifier.
Stand magnifiers are available in powers from 1.7x to 20x magnification, these have
the advantage of having built-in legs which enable the user to maintain the correct
focal length at all times. It is also possible to write underneath the lower powered
varieties.Many of the stand magnifiers are also available as illuminated versions eg:
Eschenbach System Vario or Coil Raylite Series. Generally these type of
magnifiers should be used whilst wearing any reading glasses you have been
Both hand and stand magnifiers are available in illuminated versions, illumination is
helpful in most cases especially when using high powered aids, as the necessary
close working distance often results in your head casting a shadow on the page.
There are both battery and mains versions available, the most recent addition to
these ranges, are the LED illuminated versions, these are battery powered but
provide a more white light with the added advantage of never having to replace bulbs
and a longer battery life. The new AT8 Range of Rechareable illuminated magnifier avoids the
need to constantly change batteries and might be worthy of consideration
Bar Magnifiers are lenses which lie flat on a page and magnify one line of text,
whilst the concept appears useful, these are only available in relatively low powers
(3x max) and can be susceptible to reflections and distortions. Some versions are
also available with a guide line incorporated, this can make location and therefore
reading somewhat easier eg: Eschenbach 2606.
Dome & Brightfield Magnifiers
These are magnifiers which rest flat on the page and have the appearance of a
paperweight. They are always in focus and have the ability to harness the
surrounding light. This type of magnifier is especially beneficial to those who are
short sighted who often find other types of magnifier difficult to use.
Coil has recently developed a range of these magnifiers which have special
"shaded" sections, designed to alleviate pattern glare and therefore help those with
Dyslexia and other associated reading problems. This type of magnifier is only
available in relatively low powers (max 3x).
This type of aid can be incorporated into a spectacle frame but generally
necessitate holding things very close. More popular and easy to use are aids which
clip onto existing spectacles and can be used on one or both eyes. The maximum
power available for binocular use is 3x magnification and 7x for monocular use.
There are also magnifying glasses available for near and intermediate distance (TV
Viewing) these consist of two sets of lenses of which the space between the two
can be adjusted, to increase the magnification up to a maximum of 2x
magnification (Coil 4090 & 4090/02).
In many cases, TV viewing can be assisted by the use of a TV magnifier, this large
magnifier fits in front of the television screen and magnifies the screen
These can be spectacle mounted or as is more popular hand held. Whilst this type
of aid can be used for near vision, they usually require specialist prescription and
fitting. The hand held versions are generally used to aid distance vision, to view bus
numbers, street signs etc and can be a useful mobility aid. Some of these aids do
have the ability to focus for near as well. Using a Monocular (hand held telescope)
successfully requires much practice and perseverance but can become an
invaluable aid. (see using a monocular)
Bench & Hobby Magnifiers
These are usually large magnifiers and therefore low powered, which are mounted
on moveable fittings. Many can be clamped to desk or table tops and some are
also available on heavy bases. Many in this range are also illuminated which makes
then ideal for fine work tasks such as electronics and needlecraft.