When Magnifiers Are Not Enough

Macular degeneration sometimes progresses slowly for those with dry macular degeneration, but others may experience a more sudden and severe vision loss. The biggest adjustment to the vision changes associated with AMD is finding ways to continue reading - whether it's a simple bill, a prescription bottle, a recipe, a book, newspaper or magazine.

Of course a person should start out with vision aids for macular degeneration such as handheld magnifying glasses or magnifying floor lamps. However, eventually the magnification offered by these aids may not be high enough to allow someone to keep reading. Often people will give up reading not realizing that there are electronic magnifiers that make it possible for almost anyone with macular degeneration to continue reading.

These electronic reading devices come in a variety of styles and technologies. The two I will cover here are the handheld electronic magnifier and a closed circuit TV (CCTV) magnifier or desktop magnifier.

Hand Held Magnifier

A handheld electronic magnifier is one that is portable and can be taken with you when you are out shopping, on a trip or at a restaurant.

It is good for quick spot reading - such as checking a price, a label, a menu or instructions.

These portable magnifiers can magnify in the range of to 2 - 14 times. The screen sizes vary but they are somewhere between 3.5" to 6.5"

Desktop Magnifier

A desktop magnifier is a low vision device that sits on a desk, so it is not usually portable. These electronic book readers provide higher magnification levels than the smaller, handheld ones.

Sitting just above the flat surface of the device is a camera. The reading material is placed on the flat surface, which is a couple of inches below the camera.

The camera captures the page you want to read and displays it on the monitor. Once the image is on the monitor, there are lots of ways to adjust the screen for the best visibility and clarity for you.

Contrast combinations, brightness and the amount of magnification are all adjustable.

Find out more how this low vision technology can help you or your loved one:

Electronic Magnifiers

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Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision