At some time in our lives most of us are faced with print that is too small to read. A frequent question we get asked is “how strong a magnifying glass do I need” to read a book, newspaper, pill bottle, contract or map?
Unless you have some form of degenerative eye disease, a lot weaker than you think.
What Can’t I See?
Below is a typical eye chart your optometrist might use to test you. A computer screen can mimic a magnifying glass but you may have to move your chair back to do a simple test.
First, measure the height of the “T” in the sentence in the bottom paragraph in the chart beside “1.25M” that begins: “The rush…”. Use the metric part of your ruler to make comparison easier later. On our computer screen this letter is 4mm high.
Next, make sure the magnification of your web browser is set at 100%. You can check this in Chrome & Firefox by clicking on the 3 bars “=” in the upper right corner; for Explorer use View/Zoom. Now you’re ready.
So What Magnification Do I Need?
Press these 2 keyboard keys together “Ctrl” & “+” to change your screen magnification. If you’ve moved your chair back, have someone press they keys for you. The first time you do, the letters will appear 10% bigger. Keep pressing “Ctrl +” until you can read everything. Now see what the magnification level is for your browser. Is it 120%, 150%, 200%, more?
If it is 200%, then the letters are now twice as high. If 300%, 3 times as high & so on. Try measuring the “T” again if you find this hard to believe.
Even more surprising is just how simple & cheap Magnifying Glasses can do this. A 2X (2 times) magnifying glass makes the letters appear 200% bigger. A 3X magnifying glass makes them 300% bigger & so on.
For most people, young or old, a simple & inexpensive hand held magnifying glass is all you need for reading newspapers, books or maps.