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Bigger is Not Always Better
December 28, 2023

Bigger is Not Always Better

If you are looking for a reading magnifier that will help magnify a full page of a book or a magazine, the idea of a full page magnifier is very appealing.

But it's not just magnification that offers less strain on your eyes. Lighting AND magnification are the two most important reading aids in helping one see words clearly. When you combine the two you will find that reading becomes easier.

Most people prefer to have a large area of print magnified rather than just a few words or just part of a sentence. The more page one can see the easier it is to read.

So one might thing that a full page magnifier would be the best option as a reading aid. But here is a good time to share another magnification principle - bigger is not always better. Let me explain.

A large size magnifier, like a full page magnifier is a weaker magnifier. Meaning you won’t find one that offers a 5x magnifying power. Most page magnifiers usually offer 2x magnification - this magnifier will make the print appear two times its original size.

And, if the magnifier also provides good lighting, the need for higher magnification may not be necessary.

Smaller magnifiers, such as a hand held magnifying glass, offer more powerful magnifying options. So if one needs more than 2x magnification, then a smaller magnifier will help.

Smaller hand held magnifiers with more power, such as a 5x magnifier, may help by making the words appear clearer and crisper, but the trade-off is that less print is visible. It can also be very tedious to hold a magnifier for any length of time for more than just spot reading.

So, depending on what your low vision specialist recommends, always try to use the weakest magnifier that allows you to read without eye strain. And always have a good light source. Good lighting can make it possible to use a weaker magnifier.

Find out more about your options for reading magnifiers:

Guide to Reading Magnifiers

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision

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