How do I find the best magnifier for my needs?

Magnifiers are provided free on the NHS and should be professionally prescribed along with training in the use of the magnifier. We always recommend that you contact your local low vision provider first before purchasing a magnifier.  

As well as seeing a professional for advice, you can also consider the following:

Have you previously used a magnifier?

  • If it is a replacement for old magnifier contact the provider of the magnifier for a replacement or for the details. Most services can provide replacements even if they cant reassess right away.
  • If you have not previously had a magnifier contact your optometrist/ ophthalmologist/ ECLO to ask for a low vision referral. 

If your local service is not available

  • Contact your optometrist to find out what power magnifier would be a good starting point, but let them know that this is purely a starting point. Often magnifiers prescribed just on the measurement of vision are not right and have to be exchanged.
  • If you haven’t had a recent eye examination at the opticians, it's recommend that you do this. You can then ask the optometrist what magnification to start with.

General rule of thumb

  • If you are sensitive to light opt for a simple magnifier
  • If you use task lighting always opt for an illuminated magnifier
  • If you can read large newspaper headline size print then they may do well with a basic 2 or 3x magnifier
  • If you can not read large newspaper headline size print then you should seek professional advice before purchasing a magnifier
  • If you have a tablet or smartphone, we recommend that you try out the magnifier options on the phone first, as this gives you an idea of the power you might need. It also provides a way of playing with the magnification levels before purchasing an optical magnifier and is a useful stop gap until you are able to see a low vision practitioner
  • Light is usually helpful but not always so always consider including this.

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