When it comes to battling low vision, you have several decisions you need to make. One of them is easy but also never comes without some confusion and hesitation. You see, many different options present themselves in today’s market for low vision aids. Most of these low vision aids also have different purposes that they can be used for.
With varying applications of use and different levels of low vision amongst individuals, you may feel lost understanding what the best devices may be for you. I see a question that arises frequently about one device/low vision aid. Stand Magnifiers. Are stand magnifiers good for low vision? After years in this industry, some trial, and error, and testing products, here is what I can tell you.
So, is a stand magnifier a good option for low vision? Yes, stand magnifiers can be an excellent option for low vision problems. With a stand magnifier, the focal distance is already taken care for you. It’s fixed. Stand magnifiers are great for spot checking mail, reading various documents and for freestanding, handsfree use.
Stand magnifiers do come in various shapes, sizes and quality so it’s important to understand them in a more in-depth way and understand what options you should be looking for. If you are at a stage where you may not be sure if stand magnifiers even work, I recommend starting with our post about the specifications and uses for stand-magnifiers. You can see that here.
Stand Magnifiers Compared to Other Aids
A stand magnifier is nothing more than a magnifying lens attached to a stand. The focal length is already fixed for you. The entire purpose of these magnifiers is for hands-free use and a look down method through the magnifying glass. This isn’t necessarily always your best option for a low vision aid but can certainly be a very good option in many situations.
The most ideal use for stand magnifiers is going to be for quick reading or scanning type reading. Imagine yourself sitting at your desk in your home office. Having a stand magnifier on your tabletop or desktop can help with a quick read on material such as bank statements, newspapers or even a brief article.
Now, instead of using your hands and magnifier to change distances like other low vision aids may require, you just use your head to move closer to the fixed lens on the magnifier. As you get closer, the more enhanced the print will become. You also can change strength at the magnification level.
However, you do need to be careful doing this because as you increase strength with magnifiers, you typically decrease the size of the glass limiting your field of view. It’s always important to consider based on your current needs and vision levels.
Options Stand Magnifiers Offer
When it comes to picking an actual stand magnifier, you will be presented with several options. Stand magnifiers range in shape, magnification levels, LED lighting and lens size. Stand magnifiers can also vary in price. Depending on your needs and your budget, you want to take a look around at several options before pulling the trigger. Better safe than sorry.
Pricing for Stand Magnifiers
At the end of the day, stand magnifiers are not going to break the bank. They typically range in price anywhere from 9.00-60.00 dollars. The lower end models usually have smaller viewing areas, weaker magnification levels or even no additional options such as lighting included in the price.
With the higher end models, you are usually paying for features such gooseneck flexible arms that let you adjust the resting point of the magnifier, strong magnification levels and the actual construction of the magnifier itself. Quality is important when choosing low vision aids so the cheapest isn’t always your best option.
Gliding and Stationary Options
Although I love the gliding stand magnifiers that are easy to scan documents, I’m also a big fan of the lamp style magnifiers that can be easily adjusted or maneuvered to fit your needs for any task. I also prefer the magnifiers that offer the larger viewing lenses if your vision allows you to take this path.
The adjustable arm stand magnifiers are perhaps the best bang for your buck. Some even include normal power sources such as a standard wall outlet as opposed to using batteries which is another big plus in my book.
Of course, due to the inverse relationship with lens size and magnification power, if your low vision has progressed or is more severe, you may need the stronger magnification and smaller viewing lens.
Not much you can really do in this situation.
Enclosed Lighting with Stand Magnifiers
Another critical component or difference between stand magnifiers and handheld magnifiers is the enclosure on the light source. On stand magnifiers, the light source will typically have an enclosure around the light source which significantly increases your overall visibility and the quality of the lighting. It makes the lighting brighter is the easiest way to explain it.
With a handheld magnifier, the lighting is not enclosed and the additional boost to your vision is not as significant.
Battery Difference with Stand Magnifiers
Stand magnifiers also use larger batteries than other magnification options in most situations. This is due to nothing more than being a larger device and stand magnifiers do typically offer long lasting battery life as opposed to handhelds. They also don’t need to worry about weight so upgrading to larger batteries is a viable option for stand magnifiers opposed to handheld magnifiers.
Would I Recommend Stand Magnifiers to You?
Absolutely. Of course, I don’t know the exact use or application that you need magnification for, but if you suffer from low vision issues and need a magnifier that can serve several functions and be hands-free, it’s a great option to bring some quality back into life.
Putting It All Together. Stand Magnifiers Remain A Top Pick for Low Vision Needs
Like I said before, you always have options, and everyone’s situation is always going to be different. There’s no arguing that but if you do suffer from low vision issues, it would be rare to say that a stand magnifier can’t help completing some easy reading task, work in the office or even help as a visual aid with hobbies you may enjoy.
For the low price and the quality you can find with stand magnifiers, I think it would be a mistake not to give stand magnifiers a chance. In my opinion, you will likely need a stand magnifier in conjunction with another device such as the handheld magnifiers, but they both serve unique purposes. The main goal is to just get back to enjoying everyday life and completing a task with ease. Whichever devices help accomplish this is what we are all after.
Having both around is never going to a bad idea.