Published on January 31, 2022

Can a Magnifier Help Me See Better?

magnifying glass

When you are considering a magnifier, all you really want is one that will help you see the best.

My grandmother had low vision. Lots of people tried to help by giving her different magnifiers. Unfortunately, many of those magnifiers ended up in a drawer because no one had ever checked her level of her vision to determine what type of magnifier she needed.

Basic information about magnifiers is related to strength, the size and the focus distance. There are many types of magnifiers:

  • Sheet magnifier
  • Stand magnifier
  • Hand-held magnifier
  • Magnifier with lights
  • Bar magnifier
  • Hands-free magnifier
  • Video magnifier (large and small) with built-in camera
  • Head-worn magnifiers

When you are considering a magnifier, all you really want is one that will help you see the best. They can vary in complexity and cost.

Magnifiers found at retail stores are not very strong—usually no stronger than a three powered magnifier. A stronger magnifier will be smaller than the weaker ones. Every magnifier has a certain distance that you need to hold it from the print you are wanting to enlarge. The stronger the magnifier is, the closer you need to hold it to the information you are trying to read. Video magnifiers are wonderful, but the cost can be prohibitive; for example, a desktop video magnifier can cost from $2,000 to $ 2,500 or more.

When looking for a magnifier, my advice is to start with your eye care professional. Request a low vision consultation, so that you will know what type of magnifier is best for you.