Choosing a Magnifier
Get a Close Look at Magnifiers
From fine print to close craft work, there's a magnifier that's perfect for your task at hand. But how do you find the right one? We asked an expert for advice.
2X magnification? 3X? 4X? Light or no light? Choosing the right magnifier for your tasks and lifestyle can tip toward the confusing--but it doesn't have to be that way. We checked in with Dr. Mike Ruby, an optometrist in private practice on Nantucket, MA to find out what you need to know before buying a magnifying glass (or two).
First, let's smash a myth to bits: "The concern about magnifiers causing eyes to worsen is definitely a fallacy," says Ruby. "They don't cause any [negative] change to the medical health of the eyes." Instead, magnifiers are helpful tools for people who want to increase their level of visual comfort and visual performance while reading or doing close work, like crafts.
Another myth? Using a magnifier makes you look old. It's time to leave that idea behind. If you use a magnifier to read a restaurant menu or your morning paper at the local café, any stares you pull in are--and we guarantee this--jealousy. You may even end up fielding questions about your magnifier of choice. When 40 arrives, our eyesight starts to go. The cause? Presbyopia, or, to put it simply, when the eye's lens just can't focus like it used to at, ok, a younger age. It's part of life for most people over the age of 40 and almost all over 55. Good news: using a magnifier could actually help fight signs of aging; you'll avoid adding any squint-related wrinkles to your face. And wrinkles are a sign of aging that doesn't go away when you're finished reading a restaurant menu.
With that all cleared up, some buying advice from Dr. Ruby…
Buy the right magnifier for every job. If you need magnification help when reading novels and newspapers, crafting, and when you're looking over restaurant menus, it's best to buy more than one magnifier. Different tasks require different magnification powers. Reading a novel? A page magnifier doubles the size of a full page of text. Doing needlework? A task or hobby magnifier is the way to go. Need a close up on your latest DIY project? A 5X high-powered lighted magnifier will bring it into focus. Small print on nutrition labels making it hard to stay healthy? Add a portable magnifier to your health regimen.|
|Start low. For reading, buy the lowest magnification power you need to read comfortably. The larger the letters, the less text fits in the field of view--and you'll have to move the magnifier around more. That, quite simply, could get tiresome. Try a 2X magnifier, which doubles the size of the text. For crafting or other tasks that take place at a fixed working distance, you can take a similar approach.|