Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Magnifying Glass


Devices to make text and pictures bigger.


About Magnifying Glass 


Magnifiers come in many different shapes and sizes. They can make reading mail, paying bills, or enjoying hobbies easier for people with low vision.

This page will tell you about optical magnifiers. You may also be interested in learning about electronic magnifiers.

Optical magnifiers are reading aids made of glass or acrylic. This includes the traditional handheld magnifying glass, as well as stand magnifiers, sheet magnifiers, and reading glasses. Each type has a fixed level of magnification and focal distance. Check with your eye care professional or specialty catalog for more information.

What kinds of magnifiers are there?

Handheld Magnifier

Handheld magnifiers are lenses with a handle. They come in rectangular or round shape. The higher the magnification, the smaller the lens. Handheld magnifiers must be held at a specific distance from what you are reading.

Stand Magnifier

Stand magnifiers have lenses fixed in a stand at the right distance for use. Stand magnifiers must be placed directly on top of your reading material. Both handheld and stand magnifiers may include lights.

Sheet Magnifier

Sheet or page magnifiers are flat. They are limited to 100-125% enlargement.

Reading Glasses

Reading glasses purchased in drug stores or convenience stores typically range from 25% to 100% magnification level. This is labelled as +1.0 to +4.0. Reading glasses which require higher magnification must be prescribed by an eye care professional. Reading glasses require you to hold what you are reading at a specific distance from your face for best clarity. The higher the magnification needed, the closer you will need to hold the reading material to avoid blurring.


How can I find out what’s new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:


magnifying glass, strong magnifier


How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania, you can find your state’s AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out.

Are these in Pennsylvania’s AT Lending Library?