Feb 062014

There are essentially two types of magnifying lamp that one can use – the Fluorescent Lamp and the Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamp. In this article, we’ll look at the ones that use fluorescent tubes to generate light. These are not just ordinary lamps with a magnifying glass attached. They are precision engineered magnification aids produced for:

  • A wide variety of professional applications (dentistry, philately, entomology etc.).
  • Those suffering from degenerative eyesight problems such a macular degeneration
  • Those who find it difficult to do work that requires concentration on minute details or text
  • Hobby crafts such as embroidery, sewing and crochet where close up analysis is necessary.

The widely recognized advantage of the Fluorescent Magnifying Lamp over other types of lamps is the quality of light generated by the fluorescent tube. It typically has a more “natural” quality and is less harsh, which serves to significantly reduce the amount of strain on the eye. Individuals can use the lamp for prolonged stretches without exacerbating any existing eyesight conditions or causing any unwanted strain. Fluorescent bulbs also use much less energy and generate much less heat than standard incandescent bulbs.

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fluorescent magnifying lampThere are several factors to bear in mind when selecting this type of lamp. Let’s start with the main brands on the market. These would include manufacturers such as Ott-Lite, ProMagnify, Daylight, Normande, Fulcrum and HawkEye. Each of these manufacturers engineer and produce magnifying lamps that meet the needs of most commercial and domestic applications. Manufacturers such as Luxo and Aven produce lamps that cater to high end medical and biochemical applications.

The level of magnification of a lens depends on its curvature. The term diopter refers to the refractive power of a lens. To translate diopter to magnifying power, simply divide the diopter by four and add 1. For instance, a 5-diopter lens will magnify an object 2.25 times (5 diopters ÷ 4 + 1 = 2.25x). Fluorescent Magnifying Lamps usually have 3, 5 or 8 diopter lenses. Your choice will depend on how much detail you want to see or how poor your eyesight is. However, you must remember that as the level of magnification increases, the field of view becomes narrower. In other words, while powerful lenses make small details of an object look big, you see less of the total object.

Fluorescent Magnifying lamps are available as both floor standing and desktop lamps, so the decision you make on what style of lamp will be guided by whether you will be at a desk when magnifying items. Floor standing lamps come in two varieties – those that offer a low center of gravity with a solid base, and those that at wheeled to offer improved portability. Equally, desktop lamps come in two varieties – with and without a clamp. The magnifying lamp with clamp offers greater stability for the user (as the lamp can be clamped to the desk), but less portability. They are also available in both goose-neck and variable swing arm models.

Feb 022014

If you regularly read newspapers and books or are frequently engaged in hobby crafts such as sewing or embroidery it’s highly likely that you could benefit from a magnifier lamp. Reading and focusing on small text and close up details of hobby craft can cause a great deal of stress on the eyes and can exacerbate vision that is already poor. This is exactly where this type of lamp can provide plenty of assistance and relief, particularly if you are already suffering from a condition like macular degeneration.

magnifying lamp lensThe basic purpose of a magnifying lamp is to provide high quality light in order to make the item you are looking at brighter and more visible. The lens section of the magnifying lamp then serves to provide image augmentation, which makes whatever is being inspected much larger and easier to focus on. This double-whammy makes it a great deal easier to work with small print and objects that require close up inspection.

There is a wide choice of lamps on the market and they can essentially be split into two different types – those powered by light from fluorescent tubes and those powered by Light Emitting Diodes (also known as LEDs). Let’s look at both of these in turn.

Magnifying lamps that generate light with fluorescent tubes are known to produce a very natural light, due mainly to the specialist bulbs produced by companies light Ott, Daylight and ProMagnify. These bulbs emit full spectrum light, which is superior to LEDs and the standard incandescent bulbs. The slight downside with fluorescent magnifying lamps is the fact that they do not last as long as LEDs.

Lamps that use Light Emitting Diodes as their source of illumination tend to produce brighter light than other bulb types. LEDs are also more ecologically sound, as they use less electricity to work. They also have a very long lifespan, vastly longer than fluorescent tubes. The only disadvantage of using LEDs is perhaps the fact that the quality of light produced is less natural and a little harsher than the fluorescent magnifying lamps.

May 312014

Macular degeneration is the gradual loss of vision in the central visual field due to the breakdown of cells that make up the macula. The macula is a small area at the center of your retina that is responsible for clear vision, particularly in your direct line of sight. Macular degeneration is the major cause of visual impairment in adults above 50 years old.

Macular DegenerationThere are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. The less severe type, dry macular degeneration, occurs when the retinal pigment epithelial layer under the retina wastes away, which results in loss of vision through the loss of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the central part of the eye. Cellular debris called drusen, accumulates in the eye. Drusen is the key to identifying the dry type.

Wet macular degeneration is the more severe type of MD. It occurs when there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels which leads to the loss of vision. Wet macular degeneration usually progresses from the dry type. However, only 10% of patients with macular degeneration have the wet type.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration symptoms develop gradually. The condition may affect one eye or both eyes. This condition is not painful at all and this condition may be undiagnosed for some time. If only one eye is affected, visual changes are unnoticeable because the good eye compensates for the weak one.

  • You need more bright light when you read or work with objects that you need to look at close range.
  • Your eyes find it more and more difficult to adjust to low light levels.
  • Your overall vision is becoming increasingly hazy.
  • There is a blind spot or a distortion at the center of your visual field.
  • Colors become less intense and bright.
  • Straight lines appear to be distorted.
  • Printed words become increasingly blurred.
  • You find it hard to recognize faces.

What Causes Macular Degeneration?
The exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, but there are factors that put you at risk for the condition. The following is a list of predisposing factors for macular degeneration:

  • Age: Macular degeneration mostly affects people over the age of 50. The older you are, the higher your risk for MD.
  • Gender: Women are at a higher risk than men for MD.
  • Heredity: If one of your family members had macular degeneration, you are more likely to develop MD.
  • Race: Macular degeneration affects more Caucasians than people of other races.
  • Diet: If you do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, you are putting yourself at a greater risk for MD.

Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, hypertension, elevated blood cholesterol level and early menopause.

What to Do When You Have Macular Degeneration
You should immediately let your ophthalmologist know when you notice any changes in your vision especially when these changes are consistent with the symptoms of MD. Unfortunately, there is no treatment available to reverse MD. Treatment only delays visual deterioration. It cannot restore vision. However, MD often progresses slowly. Annual eye exams may be necessary to see how the condition is progressing.

You may also have to make some dietary changes. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet will contribute to your eye health. Colorful fruits and vegetables have antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive and palm oil, may reduce the risk of vision loss. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna may help protect your eyesight. Be sure to avoid smoking and manage your weight by eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise.

Aids For Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is not life-threatening. However, it does threaten to reduce your quality of life. This condition affects your central vision which you need for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. Fortunately, there are some vision aids for macular degeneration that can help you function to the best of your ability and maintain your independence. Here are some aids for Macular Degeneration that can help improve your quality of life:

  • Macular Degeneration Magnifiers – As macular degeneration progresses, the need for magnification increases. When choosing a magnifier, you need to choose the right power for your eyesight and consider the tasks that you need to do. The focal length is also important. Remember, the closer the magnifier is to the object, the greater the magnification. Magnifiers come in different types such as pocket magnifiers, reading magnifiers, 5 diopter floor lamp magnifiers, electronic magnifiers and many more.
  • JORDY glasses (Joint Optic Reflective Display) – JORDY glasses are goggles that allow you to see at any distance and in any visual conditions. These glasses can magnify up to 50 times the original size.
  • Low Vision Lighting – The lighting needs also increase as macular degeneration progresses. That means you will need more lamps and brighter bulbs at home. However, the light from a standard light bulb is usually not bright enough to help you see objects in clearer detail. Luckily, there are types of lighting that are well-suited for patients with MD.
  • One type of lighting that works best with patients with macular degeneration is Ott lighting. Ott lighting simulates natural light, enhances contrast and reduces glare helping you see things more clearly. Aside from Ott lighting, you can also use an LED Magnifying Lamps. This lamp increases your area of vision and gives you the brightness and magnification that you need.
  • Computer Screen Magnifier – Computer magnifiers are easy to attach to your computer screen. They usually offer features such as full screen magnification and anti-reflective coating for sharper images. It is a must if you do not want to give up using your computer and surfing the Internet despite having MD.
  • Low Vision CCTV (closed circuit television) – Low Vision CCTV is a device that uses a camera and a monitor to magnify objects. This is for people who have moderate to severe vision loss. To use this device, you place the object under the camera and view it on the screen at a desired level of magnification. Some low vision CCTVs even have mirrors so you can shave better or put on your makeup without any problem at all.
  • Electronic reading devices – When you suffer from MD, it does not mean that you have to give up reading the books you love or to miss out on the new bestsellers from your favorite authors. There are reading devices that scan printed text and convert it to speech.
  • Amazon Kindle is a good electronic reading device for those who suffer from MD. Not only does the Kindle offer a text-to-speech conversion feature, it also offers options for font magnification and contrast. The screen rotates to landscape. It is portable, light weight and easy to use.

Macular degeneration is a progressive, irreversible loss of vision that could lead to blindness. However, you need not despair if you suffer from MD. There are treatments that can significantly slow down the deterioration of your eyesight. With dietary and lifestyle adjustments and with the right vision aids for macular degeneration, it is possible for you to live a relatively normal and productive life.

 Posted by at 6:53 pm
May 042014
StarMag LED Pocket Magnifier Review

In this blog post we are going to review one of the most handy vision aids out there – a StarMag Pocket LED Magnifier. It’s not a high powered magnification aid like a jewelers loupe (nor is it intended to ever replace one), but it’s a great device that brings portability into the frame. Something […]

 Posted by at 10:54 am
Apr 302014
Jewelers Loupes - So Many Uses!

A loupe is a magnification device, small in size, and its main use is seeing very small details closely. The main difference between a loupe and a magnifying glass is the lack of a handle in loupes. They are also called hand lenses. There are three major types of loupes: simple lenses, multiple lenses and […]

 Posted by at 9:39 am

Better Fly Tying

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Apr 272014
Better Fly Tying

People in the 21st century are enjoying, with ever-increasing frequency, an outdoor sport that has been popular for centuries – fly fishing. To many, fly fishing is more than a hobby; it is an art. Fly fishing clubs can be found around the globe, with memberships that are steadily increasing. What Is Fly Fishing? The […]

 Posted by at 5:48 pm
Apr 172014
The Donegan DA-5 Headband Magnifier Rocks

Essentially, the Donegan DA-5 OptiVISOR is a precision binocular headband magnifier which permits unrestricted user efficiency while reducing eye strain. The principal benefit of the Optivisor over magnifying lamps is that it leaves both hands free and allows three dimensional vision. As it’s a headband, it can be worn over prescription or safety eyeglasses. Operation […]

 Posted by at 8:58 pm
Apr 122014
Improve Your Crochet With Magnifying Lamps

In the art of crochet, the crochet hook dances in and out of the loops, weaving the yarn into beautiful patterns. Crochet requires vision- both creative and biological. Since you are reading this article, you most probably posses the former but are limited by your eyesight. This article discusses lighted magnifiers for crochet as a […]

 Posted by at 8:52 am
Mar 192014
What Is A Jewelers Loupe?

When a diamond’s being graded, every little detail has got to be carefully inspected by a jeweler to ensure that it’s correctly valued. If any inclusions or blemishes are left unnoticed, then it’s likely going to lead to the valuation being incorrect. That is why jewelers use a specially designed magnifying glass, which is called […]

 Posted by at 8:49 am
Mar 132014
How To Reduce Eye Strain Whilst Reading

If too much reading or strenuous desk work is straining your eyes and giving you constant headaches, then instead of buying a brighter and fancier version of a reading lamp, why not consider investing in a magnifier lamp? It is essentially a magnifying glass with an independent light source. Put simply, a they allow you […]

 Posted by at 3:09 pm
Mar 102014
Headband Magnifiers - Pros and Cons

Taking a look at the various advantages and disadvantages that headband magnifiers have to offer makes it easier to make an informed decision, particularly if you’re looking to spend some of that hard earned cash! Some tasks are better suited to this type of magnifier. It’s generally preferred for any work that requires using both […]

 Posted by at 7:06 am
Mar 042014
What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Our vision is precious to us. Unfortunately, there are a lot of diseases and conditions that may eventually lead to poor vision or even vision loss. It is known that diabetes may lead to poorer vision. The condition associated with poor vision and vision loss in diabetic patients is known as diabetic retinopathy. This is […]

 Posted by at 9:56 am