Hand-Held Magnifiers

By: Dr. Thomas Porter

Mention the term magnification to most people and they will immediately picture a simple “hand-held” type magnifier.  As simple as this type of aid seems, there are several clinical tips and tricks that can help you streamline your evaluation as well as reduce patient training and dispensing time.

Most of us were taught to have our patient’s first place the magnifier directly upon the desired reading material.  Then the magnifier is “lifted” away from the object until a clear image is seen within the lens.  Unfortunately I have watched patients first lift the magnifier, then move the reading material in and out, then “twist” the magnifier and finally hand back the magnifier, saying, “this doesn’t work!”

A better technique is to have the patient hold the magnifier up to the eye in the spectacle plane.  The reading material is placed right against the magnifier and then slowly moved away.  Patients will almost automatically stop at the appropriate focal point.  By using this technique you can quickly and easily help your patient find the proper lens alignment, the clearest focal point and get the largest possible field of view. 

By incorporating this technique into your exam routine you can improve your prescribing success rate with this valuable category of low vision aid.