The 10 Best Reading Magnifiers
Why Reading Magnifiers Can Be Better Than Glasses
Reading magnifiers are an incredibly useful tool for people suffering from conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma. Some might wonder why a person would use a reading magnifier when, in essence, reading glasses simply are two small magnifiers that can be worn on one's head. But reading magnifiers can do things that glasses cannot. For example, not every text is created in the same size, and advanced reading magnifiers allow you to adjust the magnification to match everything you read. Some can magnify a text up to 25 times its original size.
People who suffer from glaucoma often also struggle with color vision deficiency and the dull black font set against the gray paper of newspapers can be a difficult color scheme for those with vision impairment to detect. Some reading magnifiers reproduce the text on a small LCD screen in a color scheme that's easier to read. Many models act as small reading lamps, too, with a bright LED light shining out of the magnifying glass, illuminating the text.
These types generally have a base so they can stand on a surface, and they usually have a flexible neck so the reader can bring them closer or further from their text. These lamp-style magnifiers are ideal for hobbyists who need their hands to work on detailed tasks, like assembling model ships.
As for the concern that reading magnifiers are bulkier than reading glasses, most are designed to fit in the palm of one's hand or pocket. Of course, you have the option of getting one with an extra wide screen, so that you can magnify nearly an entire page of text at once, and not need to move your hand much while reading.
Important Additional Uses For Reading Magnifiers
Reading magnifiers aren't just important for helping seeing impaired individuals read books and periodicals; they can help them navigate the world in many other ways. People who use special phones for the hearing and seeing impaired might need extra help seeing the name of the caller on their receiver, or reading the callback number for someone with whom they need to get in touch.
It can also be very important for them to read their prescription medication instructions when they do not have a nurse or aid to help them do so. Prescription medications typically have various font sizes between the general directions, special warnings and side effects, so the ability to adjust the magnification on these is critical.
The chances of vision loss increase after the age of 65, and this generation's seniors are not as well-versed with technology as the youth is, so many elderly individuals still use paper maps. Maps, like prescriptions, also have varying font sizes between the names of counties, towns, bodies of water and longitude and latitude readings. So a reading magnifier can help someone with vision troubles navigate their way around a new city.
Digital television guides are also something that mostly the younger generation knows how to work, leaving most seniors to read physical television guides. These typically have a tiny font for the channel names, an even smaller font for the program names, and a minuscule one for the show's description. So, again, the option to adjust the magnification is very useful here.
The History Of The Magnifying Glass
Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were at the forefront of many inventions, and the magnifying glass is no exception. Thousands of years ago, Egyptians would look through pieces of crystal and other shiny stones in order to magnify items.
From 30 to 60 CE, the Roman Emperor Nero would look through gemstones to get a better look at theater productions. He was also one of the first people to wear gemstone sunglasses. The famous Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder would also use magnifying glasses to burn the flesh off of wounds between 23 CE and 79 CE.
There are also some jokes in the Ancient Greek play "The Clouds," (424 BCE) that mention magnifying glasses being used to start fires. The joke refers to magnifying glasses being sold in pharmacies, so they may have been a common household product at the time. It wasn't until the 1200s that the first magnifying glass was created for scientific use. Historians give credit to an English philosopher named Roger Bacon for this invention.
Around the time Bacon invented his version of the magnifying glass, the Arab mathematician, and scientist, Ibn al-Haytham spoke of a convex lens with which he magnified images in his book "Book of Optics." This book would go on to be an important part of the development of seeing eyeglasses, which were developed in Italy in the 13th century.