Low Vision News

For low vision specialists and those who consult them

Handheld video magnifiers

I just received a message from Optolec announcing a fall in price of their Compact+ video magnifier (in the US it’s now $595 – no news on whether the UK price is falling yet).

I like handheld video magnifiers – they are a nice mechanism for providing relatively high magnification, with minimal distortion, and contrast manipulation. The current generation have largely got over the problems of image smear and excess heat, and are relatively affordable. Perhaps most importantly, some of them (the SmartView and Compact+ spring to mind) actually look quite cool.

Having said that, I think that they can still not replace optical magnifiers for many tasks. Many people seem to prefer using a relatively low power hand magnifier for shop prices (maybe a +12D Eschenbach folding magnifier, or a +24DS COIL LED Illuminated Hand magnifier). An appropriately prescribed optical magnifier can still be less bulky and far quicker to use.

For example, a patient I saw relatively recently had already purchased multiple electronic devices — including a head mounted device (JORDY 2, I think, at a cost of several thousand pounds), but wanted something to be able to see the spine of books in a bookshop. He was absolutely delighted with a +12D non-illuminated hand magnifier (net cost about 60 pence ($1; €1). Although technology is great, don’t overlook the simple solutions.

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