What to Do When Your Group Member Says the Magnifier Doesn’t Work

Read our Magnifier Facts and provide your group member with our large print handout, “Before Buying Your First Magnifier

1. Trouble Shooting with a Hand-held Magnifier:

  • Is the magnifier broken or did they just get a new one and can’t see through it to read successfully? (They may need to contact the point of sale or their eye doctor)
  • Is the magnifier lens clean? Scratched? (Clean for them if necessary)
  • Do the batteries work? (Sometimes people don’t realize the light is weak or not working from dead batteries)
  • Is the switch working? (A switch that doesn’t work usually means the magnifier must be replaced)
  • Do they wear glasses and are the glasses clean?
  • Did a doctor or some other professional recommend they use that strength? (They may have picked up a magnifier from somewhere that is not the correct strength for their vision. Refer to Vision Rehabilitation Services)

2. Care and Use of Magnifiers:

  • Clean lenses regularly and do not store for long periods of time without removing the batteries
  • Magnifiers need to be held parallel to the reading material.
  • Magnifiers must be at a certain distance from the person’s nose and from the reading material. These distances change with the strength of the magnifier. The stronger the lens, the closer everything is to the reading material. If the person has switched to a stronger magnifier, he might not be aware that it needs to be held closer to the face. Refer the person to a vision rehabilitation professional for instruction.

3. Help You Can Offer Your Members:

  • Ask if they were ever shown how to use that magnifier. If they received it through a doctor or low vision clinic, recommend they call back to have a follow-up visit.
  • Ask person to demonstrate how they are holding the magnifier. Check for parallel position.
  • If using a lamp, make sure it is directing the light at the reading material and not at the person’s face. This will help control glare.
  • If the difficulty is finding the beginning of the next line, suggest they track backwards to the beginning of the line just read and moving down to the next line.
  • Is the person able to read more easily and more comfortably?

**If these quick suggestions do not provide success, then refer to a low vision clinic or vision rehabilitation professional, like Polly Abbott at Second Sense.