Low Vision Magnifiers
Eye conditions like glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions may cause significant vision loss. Patients with low vision often use several low vision aids and devices throughout their day to assist with various tasks. Magnifiers are one such low-vision aid, and they come in many styles with nuanced differences to accommodate the user’s needs.
Below, we’ll outline the different types of magnifiers and their specific purposes.
Handheld magnifiers are small portable magnification devices that help people with low vision read a menu, food labels, and appliance dials. They come in a variety of sizes, with or without a handle.
Patients can wear certain handheld magnifiers as a pendant around the neck for easy accessibility. Some come with a built-in light in case additional illumination is required.
Handheld magnifiers are popular because they are:
- Easy to learn to use
- Relatively affordable
- Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and strengths
The field of view is small with handheld magnifiers, so you’ll only be able to see a few words at a time. For people who are unable to hold a handheld magnifier steady, stand magnifiers may be a better option.
Stand magnifiers are designed for extended use while reading and are one of the most commonly prescribed aids for patients with low vision.
Some stand magnifiers are meant to be placed over a page or book and have four legs for hands-free support. Other smaller versions may have a handle but can be rested over a page without being held in the hand. This type of stand magnifier also usually comes with a light, which helps people see more clearly due to the illuminating function.
The height of the stand automatically places the text at the correct focusing distance for that magnifying lens. This means that all you have to do is place the magnifier on the page and start to read without adjusting any further settings.
Stand magnifiers are ideal for patients with shaky hands, reduced motor skills, or those who find it difficult to hold objects steady.
Stand magnifiers are available in various sizes, magnifications, and shapes.
Video / Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Magnifiers
CCTV or video magnifiers provide low-vision support for various visual needs. These devices are powered and use cameras to enlarge what you are looking at.
Video magnifiers use a stand-mounted or handheld camera to project a magnified image onto a video monitor, a TV screen, or a computer monitor. Cameras with zoom functions provide variable magnification.
After choosing a comfortable and functional working distance between the camera and the viewing material, you can adjust the magnification level and focus in many systems.
More sophisticated systems have an auto-focus camera, while other video magnifiers use cameras with a fixed focus and cannot alter magnification.
How We Can Help
IALVS low vision optometrists help patients with low vision live full and independent lives despite vision loss.
During a low-vision consultation, we will determine which low-vision aids and devices best suit your needs and lifestyle.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition that causes vision loss, contact us today.