Welcome to question of the day #142

Eyetools question of the day #142

One of my patients uses a stand magnifier and her reading glasses for reading. She is happy with the clarity of the print but finds it difficult to bend over the magnifier when it is on her table. She gets neck ache and backache after about five minutes. It’s putting her off using the stand magnifier. How can I help her?

There are ergonomic issues associated with stand magnifiers. Bending over the lens and getting in the correct position for the reading glasses to focus on the print will very quickly cause neck and backache. This is more likely in the older age group of people who often have to use stand magnifiers due to age-related sight loss. They often already have skeletal problems.

There is a simple low-cost solution to this. Use a clipboard.

Place the reading material on the clipboard to give a flat firm surface when using a magnifier which can be brought close to the eye. This may not be possible with thick books. Then hold the clipboard with one hand and the magnifier with the other. Place the stand magnifier on the page and move the clipboard-magnifier combination towards the face until, when wearing reading glasses, the print comes into focus. The elbows should be tucked in close to each side of the body to aid in support and comfort. Try to keep a straight back and neck.

For people with problems holding a clipboard, it is straightforward to mount it on a frame so it can be firmly fixed to a table.