Hand-held magnifiers can be a great asset for low vision patients on the go, and provide more features than traditional handheld magnifying glasses used by low vision patients.
There are plenty of low vision devices available for patients who need them. However, many can be bulky and expensive. For patients who only require additional vision aid for certain tasks, small handheld magnifiers can be a great tool while out and about. For example, if one is at a store and needs to read something too small for them to make out on a label, or at a restaurant and needs to read something on a menu, it’s easy to just pull out.
Additionally, since handheld magnifiers essentially function like the magnifying glasses we’re all familiar with (just being electronic instead of manual), there really isn’t any challenge to learning how to use them. Being digital and having a screen, they have built-in illumination so you can use them even in a darker environment such as a restaurant with dim lighting.
Digital magnifiers have the additional benefit of being able to magnify more text than a simple magnifier held over text, and may allow you to scroll on the screen, or adjust for contrast.
Hand-held digital magnifiers also come in a range of sizes, shapes, and strengths, and may offer different features, so a patient can choose a model that works best for them to make it more comfortable to do things like read small text.
Due to the fact that they are handheld, they can become tiring to use for extended periods of time. Additionally, since they’re handheld, they can be difficult to hold steady, and some adjustment may be necessary to ensure they are at the right distance to provide optimal magnification, which can make using them more challenging to use.
If your magnifier doesn’t have a built-in light, it can catch reflections or shadows, and make things harder to read. Also, since these magnifiers tend to be small, if you don’t hold them close to your eyes you’ll have a smaller field of view, which can make reading things like labels take longer.
Handheld vision magnifiers can be freely purchased online. However, it is highly recommended to speak with a doctor and to have a comprehensive vision exam first. This will help you better understand what you need in a vision magnifier, and the doctor will be able to make a recommendation based on their evaluation of your vision and knowledge of the features offered by various models.