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The Best Magnifying Glass (or Magnifiers) for Reading

The aging process often includes changes in overall eyesight and vision. Age-related farsightedness makes it difficult to see things up close. For many individuals who enjoy reading, glasses or magnifiers become necessary in order to curl up with a nice book.

Below, we’ve outlined what magnifying glasses are, why they are often used, and when to consider utilizing a magnifying glass to improve your vision and quality of life.

Age-Related Vision Issues

Age-related farsightedness can start to set in when a person reaches their 40s. Also called presbyopia, this gradual, age-related loss of ability to focus on nearby objects can become a more serious issue over time. In many cases, individuals are no longer able to keep up with their normal reading schedule out of difficulty or frustration.

Presbyopia can come along with symptoms that include having to hold reading materials farther away in order to read, increased eye strain, and headaches. 

Age-related vision issues can often be corrected with prescription eyewear, contacts, magnifiers, and eye surgery. 

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What Does a Magnifying Glass Do?

Individuals who would like to avoid surgery might consider either glasses or a magnifying glass if only activities like reading have been compromised. Being able to see the small print of certain editions of books or menus becomes a marked challenge later in life. In these cases, a magnifying glass often helps.

Magnifying glasses usually consist of a convex lens that bulges outward, which is normally made of glass or plastic. It is a lens that magnifies objects.

Types of Low-Vision Magnifiers

There are many types of magnifiers. Some are handheld, while others are mountable or headset-style models. 

Depending on the task the magnifier is needed for, single-lens magnifiers are often a satisfactory option for activities like reading. Higher power magnifiers are available, and they usually consist of two or more lens elements that result in an improved resolution.

Best Magnifiers for Reading

If you’re wondering what the best magnifier is for you, it’s best to consider what you will be using your magnifier for. If you’re thinking of nighttime reading, you might want a hands-free magnifier, for instance.

Hands-Free Magnifying Glass

MagniPros offers their Hands-Free Magnifying Glass Large Full-Page Rectangular 3X Magnifier LED Lighted Illuminated, which features a dozen LED lights for enhanced reading. This model features a large surface area for viewing and reading larger books or magnifying entire pages. This model is priced at just shy of $32 on Amazon.

Handheld Magnifying Glass

MagniPros also offers a hand-held magnifier, the 4x Large Magnifying Glass, which features a crystal-clear acrylic crystal made of optical grade, scratch-resistant materials. This is a good option for readers who are on the go. This option is around $25 on Amazon. 

2-in-1 Magnifying Glass

Brightech manufactures a 2-in-1 magnifying glass that comes in a hands-free design and offers 25x magnification. This magnifying glass can act as a reading enhancement tool and a reading lamp simultaneously. The cost is just over $20 on Amazon.

Alternatives to Magnifiers for Reading

For those who do not wish to use a magnifying glass, there are a few alternatives to reading aids for people with low vision that are available. 

Reading glasses or contact lenses can be prescribed to fit your individual needs. LASIK surgery is another option that has been shown to improve vision for those who undergo treatment.

Large print books are available that are easier to read than smaller print books. Audiobooks are also available for those who do not wish to read with a magnifying glass.

Talk to your eye doctor about the best path forward for you to correct your vision issues, particularly with reading.


  1. Classification of Presbyopia by Severity. (October 2021). Ophthalmology and Therapy.

  2. Reading Aids for Adults With Low Vision. (April 2018). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

  3. Benefits of Low Vision Aids to Reading Accessibility. (December 2018). Vision Research.

Last Updated December 20, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.

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