Low Vision Tip: Portable Electronic Magnifiers

A portable electronic magnifier helps a low vision user to read a newspaper

For patients with visual impairments, a common problem is small print access.

This is related to two specific deficits in vision:

  1. Decreased Resolution — unable to see small detail,
  2. Decreased Contrast Sensitivity — cannot see low contrast/grey detail.


Optical magnifiers make print look bigger, and current technology has added new options. Portable electronic magnifiers are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

They offer a significantly larger field of view at a given level of magnification—it is nice to have several words displayed on the screen and not have to read one word at a time.

They also do an excellent job of enhancing contrast. A poor contrast grey-on-grey print in the newspaper can be displayed in brilliant high-contrast black and white.

Prices for this technology have also dropped. Pictured above is one such device—the Eschenbach “Smart Lux” (about $650). If you have reduced vision and have trouble reading, look up your local low vision rehabilitation specialist and try out one of these new devices.


Reviewed on March 23, 2022