Magnifying eyeglasses

Magnifying eyeglasses

Magnifying eyeglasses are hands free magnifiers designed for viewing close objects for an extended period of time; such as for reading.

They look like, and are worn as, normal reading glasses, but they have a stronger lens which can magnify close objects.

Wearing a magnifier on your head instead of having to hold it is more comfortable for your arm, which won’t tire. You do have to hold the object quite close to see it clearly though.

Scroll down to see my picks for different styles of quality magnifying eyeglasses.

What are the different strength levels on magnifying eyeglasses?

When buying magnifying eyeglasses (or spectacles) you might come across 2 different systems for categorizing their strength. Some categorize the glasses by X power strength and some categorize them by diopter.

Diopter refers to the optical power or strength of the magnifying lens at one meter.

Four diopters (4.0D) is equal to a 100% increase in magnification, ie 1x power magnification, ie double the size of the viewed object.

Commonly, handheld magnifying glasses use the X magnification to indicate strength, whereas eyeglasses are measured in diopters. This isn’t always marked clearly. Sometimes eyeglasses are advertised as being a certain number X when what they really should say is diopter instead of X.


A guide to converting magnification strength of eyeglasses

If you use a magnifying glass of this strength… This is the equivalent strength in magnifying eyeglasses.
1x +4 diopter
1.5x +6 diopter
2x +8 diopter
2.5x +10 diopter
3x +12 diopter
4x +16 diopter
5x +20 diopter


What strength reading glasses do you need?

If you’ve used reading glasses or magnifying glasses before, use that as a guide to your needs.

Use the chart above to convert the magnifying glass strength you use to the equivalent level of diopters for reading glasses.  If you suspect you need something stronger go up a level or two.

If this is the first time you’ve needed magnifying eyeglasses then start out at a low level such as +4 diopter or less. You don’t want to get glasses that are too strong for you, because it’s more likely to cause you discomfort, pain and unnecessary hardship.

It is generally better to choose the lowest power level that allows you to effectively correct your vision.

Yes, this might mean you need to get new glasses as your vision worsens, but the good news is that magnifying eyeglasses are very affordable at only a few dollars each. Much cheaper than prescription glasses.

Glasses up to 12 diopter are readily available in store and online. Amazon has a huge range in numerous styles and patterns for men and women.


Different styles of magnifying eyeglasses

Magnifying reading glasses for women

Patterned fashion reading glasses
Ladies fashion patterned glasses

Kerecsen 5 Pairs Fashion Ladies Reading Glasses Spring Hinge Pattern Design. These come in various strengths ranging from .5 diopters to 6.0 diopters. Various colors and patterns available.

These are a top seller on Amazon with a 5 star rating and free shipping.


Unisex magnifying reading glasses for men or women

Anti fog magnifying glasses

These stylish looking magnifier safety glasses are anti fog with a vented nose bridge. They are available from .5 diopters to 3.00 diopters.

They are also available in a bifocal version, and in a brown sunglasses look.

Available from Amazon with free shipping.


unisex magnifying reading glasses

These unisex magnifying reading glasses by TruVision Readers come in various different strengths and colors. You can also buy one pair or multi packs.

Free shipping available from Amazon where these are a top selling product.


The strongest high power magnification glasses

Very strong magnifying eyeglasses

These magnifying spectacles are stronger than most.

Available in +4, +4.5, +5 and +6 magnification strength levels. Note that at the time of writing this article, the Amazon listing for the product is saying 4.0X rather than 4.0 diopter… but this is confusing and it ought to have written diopter. Available with free shipping from Amazon.


Magnifying reading glasses for men

stainless steel framed magnifying reading glasses

These stainless steel framed magnifying reading glasses with a lightweight metal frame, come in a 3 pack.

Free shipping available on Amazon.


Magnifying sunglasses

magnifying sunglasses

Reading Sunglasses with a +4 magnification level. Available with a black or tortoiseshell frame.

magnifying safety sunglasses

These magnifying safety sunglasses have a UV 400 filter for maximum UV protection. Available in 1.5, 2.0 or 2.5 diopter magnification.

Find the best price on Amazon.


Magnifying safety glasses

magnifying safety glasses by Spits Adventurewear

These magnifying safety glasses by Spits Adventurewear come in various magnification levels from 1.25 to 3.00 diopters.

Find the best price on Amazon.



Magnifying eyeglasses are an affordable solution for people with mild vision loss. They are much cheaper than prescription glasses. They give you a small amount of magnification hands-free so you don’t get tired holding a hand-held magnifier for extended periods of time. They come in many different styles and variations.

The system for measuring strength of eyeglasses is different to that of measuring strength of hand-held magnifying glasses, so check the table above to work out what strength magnifying eyeglasses you need.

Eye Vitamins & Supplements for Eye Health

Eye Vitamins by Healths Harmony

What can you do to support your eyesight from deteriorating?

Of course you’ll need to consult your specialist for your particular medical situation, but as a general rule, we all benefit from taking in the right vitamins and minerals. So here we take a look at Eye Vitamins & Supplements for Eye Health.

This article starts with an overview of the vitamins and nutrients known to be crucial for eye health. The bottom line here is leafy green vegetables are crucial in getting the right nutrients for healthy eyes… so if you’re not keen on eating your veggies daily a supplement may be in order.

If you don’t really care about the explanations and want to go straight to finding a supplement designed for eye health, scroll down for reviews of top selling eye vitamins… or go to Amazon to get this top selling supplement specially formulated for eye health.


Which Vitamins and Nutrients do you need for Eye Health?

Healthy Food for eye healthEating a balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables is a great way to get the nutrition you need for good health. Research indicates several vitamins in particular are helpful in the prevention and management of various eye conditions. The key vitamins to include in your diet (or to supplement if you need) are:

Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the macula and retina of human eyes. They help to filter blue light, protecting your eyes from damage. They are found in leafy greens like spinach, kale, swiss chard and collard greens.

Studies have indicated they help in preventing the development and progression of cataracts and AMD.

Vitamin A

Found in “yellow” foods such as pumpkins, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes as well as in leafy green vegetables.

Studies have shown Vitamin A to reduce risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It helps maintain a healthy cornea and plays a role in your ability to see in low light conditions.

B Vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12

These vitamins can be found in oats, whole grains, dairy products, fish, poultry, beef, mushroom and fortified foods. Some B vitamins, such as B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin) are antioxidants.

Studies have shown certain B vitamins to be helpful to reduce risk of developing particular eye conditions including AMD, cataracts and glaucoma. B1 (Thiamine) has been linked to reducing the risk of cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant which may protect your eyes (and other parts of your body) against the damaging effects of free radicals. It is found in avocados, nuts, seeds, oils, salmon and leafy green vegetables.

Studies have indicated it is helpful in against AMD and age-related cataracts.

Vitamin C

Another antioxidant that can protect your body against free radicals. It is found in broccoli, kale, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, citrus and tropical fruits.

Studies have found this helpful for people with AMD, and reduces the risk of developing cataracts.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The retina of the eye contains a high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega 3 fatty acid. You can get omega-3s from your diet in fish, seeds, nuts, soy, and olive oil.

Omega 3 fatty acids are believed to help prevent diabetic retinopathy and to help with dry eyes.


What is AREDS2 and how is it related to eye vitamins?

Older man with age related macular degenerationAREDS2 refers to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute. The results of this study were published in 2013. AREDS2 was a follow up from the original AREDS published in 2001.

AREDS found that a daily supplement containing vitamin C, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, copper and beta-carotene reduced the risk of progressive age related macular degeneration by 25% among participants with early and intermediate AMD.

AREDS2 investigated a modification to the original supplement tested in AREDS, and included the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin (and no beta-carotene). The study found this supplement reduced risk of AMD progression in participants, and was particularly helpful for people who had low amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in their daily diet.


Review of Supplements for Eye Health

Often the foods we consume don’t provide us with enough minerals and multivitamins. Perhaps your diet isn’t as great as it should be, or perhaps you have become run down.

You can have vitamin deficiencies due to poor nutrition, illness, aging or other health conditions. In these situations supplementing can help you cover the bases.

Numerous research studies prove that supplements for eye health have several positive results. Taking a regular supplement may help to prevent the development or worsening of eye problems.

Listed below are the best eye vitamins available on the market:

PreserVision AREDS 2 Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

PreserVision Eye vitamins and mineral supplementThe PreserVision Vitamins by Bausch & Lomb are made from a clinically proven formula designed to help people with AMD.

This supplement uses the AREDS 2 formula developed for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute.

It contains the key nutrients lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc. Full ingredients list: Ascorbic acid, gelatin, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, glycerin, soybean oil, zinc oxide, marigold flower extract, soy lecithin, yellow beeswax, silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, cupric oxide, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Blue 1.

The best way to consume these supplements is to take 2 gels daily: one on the morning and the other one in the evening, both should be taken with food.

This product is a #1 Best seller on Amazon in the category of Multiple Vitamin-Mineral Combination Supplements. Find the best price on Amazon now.


  • Formula based on extensive scientific research
  • Beta-carotene free, which is important for smokers and ex-smokers
  • Specially designed to help with aged related eye diseases, and is a more beneficial formula than a standard multivitamin.



Healths Harmony Lutein Eye Vitamin

Lutein is a type of carotenoid – a yellow to red pigment found in vegetables. As well as being found in plants, it’s also found in the macula of the eye.

Lutein is helpful for people who are facing eye diseases such as cataracts, AMD and retinitis pigmentosa. Apart from this, it is also used for preventing diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer.

Most multivitamins comes with Lutein in them; however, it is only present in small amount per tablet. A larger quantity is required for vitamins targeting eye health.

Healths Harmony Lutein Eye Vitamins combine lutein with other helpful eye vitamins. They are made from a combination of powerful ingredients that will give your eyes the health they deserve.

Ingredients include grape seed, vitamin A, Bilberry and zinc. These help to prevent inflammation, enhances night vision and soothes your eye lens. Ingredients list: Vitamin A (beta-carotene) 25,000 IU, Zinc (aspartate) 25 mg, Lutein 20 mg, Bilberry (20% extract) 80 mg, Grape Seed (95% extract) 100 mg, Quercetin Dihydrate 100 mg, L-Taurine 400 mg, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine 200 mg. Other ingredients: Gelatin (bovine), vegetable magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide.

The best thing about these supplements for eye health is that they are full of natural ingredients and free from all fillers.

Find the best price now on Amazon.


  • Contains high dose of Lutein for optimal eye health
  • Natural vitamin and herb formula
  • No fillers or artificial ingredients
  • Reduces eye fatigue and inflammation
  • Premium quality, made in USA FDA approved facilities


  • Need to take 2 a day


Lipotriad Visionary AREDS2 Eye Vitamins

Lipotriad Visionary vitamins for healthy eyesLipotriad Visionary is completely natural and contains no artificial ingredients. Tthey are safe for smokers and the low zinc formula is useful for people who have digestion problems for larger doses of zinc.

The softgel is easy to swallow and you only need one softgel dosage a day.

The founder of this product has a family history of the eye disease called macular degeneration. She created the quality, natural product she wanted to buy.

This formula is based on the AREDS2 Study, but compared to its competitors this product stands out as being free from artificial ingredients.

Find the best price now on Amazon.


  • Doctor recommended formula based on the AREDS2 study
  • No artificial ingredients or dyes
  • Reduced zinc dosage for easy digestion
  • Only need 1 per day


  • Initially appears more expensive than alternatives, but it’s not when you consider that you only need one of these a day, whereas the other 2 products reviewed here require 2 doses a day.


Legal Disclaimer

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.



If you experience eye problems you should pay a visit to an eye specialist to check what’s causing it.

However, good nutrition is important for everyone in maintaining eye health. If you don’t eat a wide range of vegetables, particularly leafy greens, on a daily basis, you may need to supplement to ensure you don’t develop age related eye problems.

The AREDS2 study has shown a particular formula of supplement was helpful for people with AMD and possibly other eye problems.

Taking the right eye vitamins, based on the AREDS2 formula, can act as a remarkable defense against several vision problems, and is a key part of keeping your eyes as healthy as possible.

Hands free magnifying glass reviews

Hands free magnifying glasses come in several variations. They may be used by people with regular vision for precision tasks, or by people with low vision to compensate for their vision loss.

These are used for many purposes including for hobbyists to read books or newspapers, sewing, knitting, quilting, jewelry design, woodworking, painting, drawing, puzzles, electronics, repairs and more. They may be used by professional trades people such estheticians / beauticians or jewelers.

These are my picks for the best hands free magnifying glasses for various purposes.

Compare the different types of hands free magnifiers

ProductMagnification rangeOther featuresMore details
Brightech LightView Pro Flex Magnifying Lamp

Brightech LightView Pro Flex Magnifying Lamp
Up to 1.75xFlexible gooseneck stand. Interchangeable stand or clamp.
Top rated magnifier
Read more below or buy on Amazon.
Brightech LightView Pro LED Magnifying Glass Floor Lamp

Brightech LightView Pro LED Magnifying Glass Floor Lamp
Up to 1.75xFloor lamp Read more below or buy on Amazon.
YOCTOSUN Head Mount Magnifier With 2 Led Professional Jeweler's Loupe

YOCTOSUN Head Mount Magnifier With 2 Led Professional Jeweler's Loupe
1.0X, 1.5X, 2.0X, 2.5X, 3.5X lensesHead mounted on eyeglass frame OR flexible headband.
Interchangeable lenses of varying strengths.
Top rated magnifier
Read more below or buy on Amazon.
Humanware Explore 7

Humanware 7" electronic magnifier reading the news paper
2.3x - 19x adjustable

For mild to moderate vision loss
Very large 7" screen
Built in stand so you don't have to hold it.
Distance viewing mode
Rechargeable battery
Read more below or buy on Amazon.
Humanware SmartView 360 Video Magnifier

Humanware Smartview 360 digital magnifier connected to an iPad for large display
2.6x to 57x adjustable

For moderate to severe vision loss
19" LCD screen sits on your table
Can point camera down to read, or at self for grooming, or in the distance.
Built in handle for portability (weighs 8kg)
Read more below or buy on Amazon.
GoVision 24" LCD portable electronic magnifier

GoVision Focus portable video magnifier reading a magazine with small text
1.7x to 83x adjustable

For mild to severe vision loss
Largest 24" LCD screen
Largest range of magnification
Enhanced color and contrast modes
Distance viewing and self view modes
OCR mode - speech feature reads text aloud so you can listen and rest your eyes
Read more below or buy on Amazon.


Best hands free magnifying glass with light

Brightech LightView Pro Flex Magnifying Lamp

Brightech LightView Pro Flex Magnifying Lamp

This versatile magnifying lamp has an impressive 5 star rating on Amazon after more than 1000 customer reviews. (Amazon also sells it with free shipping and with Amazon Prime.)

It can be used as a desk lamp or use the supplied clamp to attach it the side of a table, chair or desk. It has a fully adjustable goose neck that bends in any direction so you can get the right angle and distance to look through the lens.

It has bright energy saving LED lights surrounding the lens. The LED technology is is very bright and you don’t have to replace bulbs, as they are made to last for more than 20 years of use!

It magnifies up to 1.75x, which is fairly moderate magnification but suitable  for people with relatively good vision who want to make their task a bit more comfortable.

This is a great option for people with good vision or mild vision loss to make it easier to do craft, reading, crosswords or hobbies. It’s available in black or white.

Top pick as a hands free magnifying glass with light for crafts.

Brightech LightView Pro LED Magnifying Glass Floor Lamp

Brightech LightView Pro LED Magnifying Glass Floor LampBuy from Amazon

This floor lamp is perfect for someone who has a favorite chair they like to sit in to read. It’s also large enough to extend over a bed for nighttime reading, or for use at a desk or kitchen bench.

The top of the stand is a flexible gooseneck which allows you to position the magnifying lens where you want it.

It magnifies up to 175% (ie 1.75x magnification). This is fairly moderate magnification but suitable  for people with relatively good vision who want to make their task a bit more comfortable or those with mild vision loss.

It has a built in LED light with a dimmer.

Available in black or white stands.

Top pick as a hands free magnifying glass with light for reading.

YOCTOSUN Head Mount Magnifier With 2 Led Professional Jeweler’s Loupe

YOCTOSUN Head Mount Magnifier With 2 Led Professional Jeweler's LoupeBuy from AmazonThis head mount magnifier is a #1 best seller on Amazon for hobby tool magnifiers.

Wear your magnifier on your head with the Yoctosun head mount magnifier. There are 2 ways of wearing this:

  1. use the comfortable eyeglass frame with rubber nose-pad or
  2. wear the flexible headband for a more-secure fit.

It comes with 5 interchangeable lenses with 1.0x, 1.5X, 2.0X, 2.5X, 3.5X magnification lenses made of scratch-resistant acrylic. See your work pieces or text magnified up to 350% original size with high clarity.

A headlight is built into the magnifier, with 2 super-bright LED – powered by 3 AAA batteries (included).

Great for jewelry work, watch repair, arts & crafts. This is a versatile reading magnifier that doesn’t require you to stay in the one spot, which makes it great for use in the kitchen, when traveling, or when reading away from a desk.

A great pick if you want to wear your magnifier on your head to keep your hands free.


HumanWare Explore 7 Handheld Electronic Magnifier

Humanware 7" electronic magnifier reading the news paperBuy Humanware Explore 7 digital magnifier from Amazon

Click here to read my detailed review of the Humanware Explore 7.

This electronic magnifier is a top pick for someone with moderate vision impairment who wants a hands free magnifier for reading.

You don’t need hands to hold the Explore 7 magnifier, as it stands up on the table or other solid surface you rest it on. You will need to push it side to side as you read. The very large 7″ screen means you fit more words on the screen when reading, but it is still a portable size.

It has a 7″ LCD screen and adjustable magnification from 2.3X-19X. You can also plug the Explore 7 into a TV or computer screen via a cable to see the video image taken from the Explore on the TV. This allows you to magnify what you’re reading even more as you can look at it on a much bigger screen.

It runs on a rechargeable battery and comes with charger included. It also comes with a cleaning cloth and a sturdy case to protect it when you’re on the go.

Able to buy online and have delivered to you.


Best portable electronic magnifier

Top pick for desk size portable electronic magnifier

Humanware Smartview 360 digital magnifier connected to an iPad for large displayBuy Humanware smartview 360 digital magnifier from AmazonHumanWare SmartView 360 Video Magnifier

For people who want to read a lot for pleasure, or for those with more severe vision loss, the greatest solution is to get an electronic magnifier that sits on your table or desk. The SmartView 360 has a 19″ LCD screen, which means you can fit a lot on the screen at once. Compare this to using a strong magnifying glass where you only see about one word at a time through the lens.

The controls are easy to use with practice, and are attached to the screen by a wire so they don’t get lost.

The large screen is also great for looking at photos or pictures, which you can’t really do properly with a powerful magnifying glass.

The SmartView camera can point any direction. Point down to read, write or do handiwork; point across the room for meetings or classes; and point at self for personal grooming. This is very versatile and allows you to keep your hands free for crafts, writing, or other tasks and see what you’re doing magnified greatly on the screen in front of you.

Magnification levels for desktop – 2.6x to 57x; distance – 0.6x to 27x; self view – 1x to 4x

Buy online from Amazon to have delivered to you.


Best large electronic magnifier with speech

GoVision Focus portable video magnifier reading a magazine with small textBuy GoVision Focus electronic desktop magnifier from AmazonGoVision – 24″ LCD Auto Focus Portable Electronic Magnifier

This is the ultimate option for someone who wants a strong magnifying glass for reading.

The GoVision digital magnifier has the largest screen available at the time of writing – 24″, which is the size of a large computer screen.

It also has an exceptionally large range in its magnification abilities – it can magnify from 1.7x up to 83x. This means it can be helpful for people with mild vision loss right through to those with severe vision loss.

One particular benefit of this equipment is that it can read printed text aloud in speech. This is wonderful for people with severe vision loss, for those who tire quickly, and for people who prefer to listen rather than strain their eyes.

Read more or order now to have delivered to you


5 Christmas gifts for someone with low vision

Christmas gift for low vision

It’s the holiday season and we want everyone to share in the jolliness!!!

If you’re looking for ideas, you might get some inspiration from this list of 5 Christmas gifts for someone with low vision.

Carson ezRead digital magnifier – convert TV into a vision aide

Carson ezRead digital magnifier for TVBuy ezread magnifier from AmazonThis handy tool transforms your TV into a visual reading aide.

Put it on top of something you want to read, and a magnified image of what’s underneath the ezRead appears in full color on your TV screen. The bigger the TV screen, the larger the magnified image appears on the screen.

The aide plugs into your TV quickly and easily using the video cable supplied. It has the shape of a computer mouse and is controlled by your hand movements in a similar way.

It has internal LED lighting to ensure the image on the screen is bright and easy to see.

Powered by 3 AAA batteries (not included) or the included A/C power adapter.

Find the best price on Amazon.


Large print playing cards

Large print playing cards for low vision card players

Buy large print playing cards from AmazonLet everyone join in the fun and games this Christmas. Large print playing cards make it easier for elderly with vision problems to continue to play the games they know and love.

Available as a 1 pack, 2 pack or 4 pack. I’d recommend getting at least a 2 pack so you can play lots of favorite card games that might use more multiple packs at a time, including bridge, canasta, solitaire and hearts.

Find the best price on Amazon.


Simple, large button TV-remote

Tek Pal large button remote controlBuy TEK big button remote for TV from Amazon

The Tek Pal big button remote control is very simple and easy to use. It gets rid of all the uncommonly used buttons and makes the ones most likely to be used huge and easy to find.

It has only 6 buttons – on/off, mute, volume up and down and channel up and down. The buttons are back lit to make them easier to see. They are also tactile and in different shapes which allows low vision users to feel for the button they need rather than relying on sight.

It runs on AA batteries.

Find the best price on Amazon.


Simple large button phone

Big button phone for seniorsBuy simple large button phone from Amazon

Stay in contact with your loved ones with a large button phone.

The Emerson EM300WH Big Button Seniors Phone has very large buttons with large font and high contrast. It is an uncluttered phone that is simple and easy to use.

This model has a 10 number speed dial, and a redial button for convenience. It has a useful hands-free speakerphone mode as well.

For peace of mind, this phone also works in power outage for emergencies.

Find the best price on Amazon.

Find more large button phones on our page on low vision aids.


Give the gift of reading

These GoVision portable electronic magnifiers have an attached remoteBuy GoVision electronic magnifier from Amazon

There are a range of magnifiers that will help your loved one get back to their love of reading. Whether it’s the newspaper, letters, magazines or the mail, they will appreciate being able to get back the independence and enjoyment they used to enjoy before their vision deteriorated.

For people with mild vision loss, try a magnifying glass. Read my reviews to find one for your budget and needs.

For people with moderate vision loss, you’ll want an electronic magnifier. Read my reviews to find one for your budget and needs.


For more ideas of Christmas gifts for low vision people, check out the page on low vision aids.


Best magnifying glass for macular degeneration

old woman with macular degeneration

I’m commonly asked about the best magnifying glass for macular degeneration. That’s because age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss.

Some of the key features to look out for are: quality, built in light, and the right balance between size and strength…. Unfortunately you can’t have a traditional magnifying glass that is both big AND strong… Though you can if you get an electronic magnifier. Click here to read more about electronic magnifiers.


What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is a disease that affects the central part of the retina – the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eyeball. It affects the central vision which can cause problems with reading, driving and recognizing people. It doesn’t usually cause total vision loss. About 80% of people with AMD have the dry (atrophic) form, and 20% have the wet (exudative) form.

Young girl in the park

Normal vision

Vision with macular degeneration has a black spot in the middle

Vision with macular degeneration

There isn’t currently any cure for AMD, and no treatment for the dry form. There is some treatment for the wet form, but it doesn’t restore vision as much as patients would like.

Unfortunately, the best we can usually do at this stage, is help the patient learn to work around the problem. That is where low vision aids help.


How does a magnifying glass help someone with macular degeneration?

Even with the use of a magnifier, the person will still have a black or blurry spot in the middle of their vision. Vision aids won’t get rid of that.

A magnifying glass helps, by increasing the size of writing you want to read, so that less of the word is obscured by the spot in the central vision. This makes is easier to take an ‘educated guess’ at what you’re seeing, based on what you see in the peripheral of your vision.


The best magnifying glass for macular degeneration

Quality magnifiers have less distortion

When you buy a magnifying glass, get a good quality one. Cheaper ones can have a lot of distortion, which can cause eye strain and headaches. Someone with macular degeneration already has their central vision obscured so they need to make the most of their peripheral vision. Cheap magnifying glasses often have good focus in the center of the lens but distortion around the edges. This is particularly problematic for people with AMD, so you need to spend a bit more money for a good quality aid.


Built-in light

Built in light is a must, in my opinion. The light significantly increases the contrast which makes reading easier. Magnifying glasses with light will take AA or AAA batteries in the handle.

Most of the magnifiers sold through reputable low vision agencies will have this feature. If you’re going to buy a magnifying glass online make sure you get one with light. To read my reviews of magnifying glasses with light, click here.


Higher magnification isn’t necessarily better

Many people with AMD make the mistake of purchasing the strongest magnifying glass on offer. This isn’t necessarily helpful though, as then you’ll only see a couple of letters at a time. This can make it very laborious to read as you can’t get the whole context of a word.

If you consult a low vision specialist they can help you trial different models of magnifying glass. Otherwise, it might take some trial and error to find the best level of magnification for you.

Lighted magnifying glass for macular degeneration - set of 3Buy Fancii illuminated magnifier from AmazonOne solution to this, is to buy a magnifying glass set with different strength lenses. This can give you an idea of which strength works best for you.  For example, the Fancii Illuminated LED Handheld Magnifying Glass Set has three interchangeable heads. The largest head is 2x strength, the middle size 3.5x strength, and the small head is 10x strength. This can be a good place to start – though some people will need stronger magnification than this.


Bigger does not equal better

Many people hope to find a big magnifying glass that will cover a whole page at once.

Unfortunately, due to the rules of physics, and the way light bends through the lens, the bigger a lens the weaker the strength of magnification. It also lowers the contrast of the writing you’re looking at.

If you want a magnifying glass (rather than an electronic magnifier) you must find the best balance between the size of the lens and the strength of magnification.


Reading glasses

If you have prescribed reading glasses, use these at the same time as using a magnifying glass for the best results.


Electronic magnifiers for macular degeneration

Electronic magnifier for macular degenerationAbove I’ve covered the best magnifying glass for macular degeneration, limiting it to traditional magnifying glasses. But if you can afford it, the best option is probably an electronic magnifier because these are high contrast, large and high strength.

Electronic or digital magnifiers come in a range of sizes – from the size of a computer screen, to portable pocket-size models.

To read my reviews on electronic magnifiers, click here.