There is a lot of new technology for low vision sufferers, but one of the most trusted low vision aids out there is that of a magnifier. Low vision magnifiers make a big difference with reading — whether it is on the page or on a screen. Whether you are dealing with glaucoma, cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, magnifiers may help you read regardless of your low vision.
But, before you just go buy any type of magnifier, you need to realize there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all low vision magnifier. There are types for different types of vision loss. For example, you can’t use a low vision magnifier designed for central vision loss if you suffer from peripheral loss.
The type of low vision technology you need depends on your specific vision requirements. Do not assume you need the highest amount of magnification to properly see. In fact, most people can get away with low to moderate magnification.
The best thing to look for is a high-powered magnifier if you want to see a smaller plane of vision or a lower-powered magnifier to see a larger plane of vision.
If you are using the magnifier for things that require two hands (i.e. crafts, cooking, typing, etc.), you will want a magnifier that has a stand. Handheld versions will require one hand to use them, and they can limit your ability to do stuff. Handhelds are difficult for reading as well, because one hand will have to hold the magnifier while the other manages the book.
Video magnifiers are a good choice too, but if you are going to go with a video magnifier, look for one that has features like:
There are also low vision magnifiers you can find in the form of apps. Magnifier, for example, is a low vision app that works with your smartphone. It can zoom up to 20x the original size and offers such a detailed, realistic look you won’t’ feel as though it is being zoomed in. While this is a pad app, you can get Magnifier and other low vision magnifier apps through Low Vision Technologies. It might be best to try a smartphone app before buying a handheld magnifier — because these are more affordable and let you test out different styles so you can find which works best for you.