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What is the best type of magnification?

I apologize ahead of time for yet another question but you are all
so informative. Where else can I ask?

These old eyes of mine are straining to see, when piercing metal
etc. Of course the Rio catalogue has multiple options for
magnification glasses. So which ones, that is my question?

There is “Optivisor”, "Donegan Optisight magnifying visor, Bausch
and Lomb Magna Visor, Mageyes Dual acrylic Lens magnifier and Easy
Eyes four-in-one magnifier.

A person could go nuts trying to figure out which one is best.

I do wear glasses already so I am looking for something that can be
worn over them as well as something comfortable. I have a smallish

All suggestions welcome. Doesn’t have to be from Rio but that is the
only place I have looked so far.

Again, thanks and sorry for all the questions.



I recently went to a show and witnessed a man accomplishing the most
beautiful, intricate work. When I asked him about magnification, he
told me his eye doctor had made a custom pair of “no line” bifocals.
I also have a smallish head. I haven’t had luck with the
clip-on-your-glasses magnifiers (they’re too big) or the kind that
sit on top of the head (it pulls my hair and slips down all the
time). I’m going to ask my eye doctor if he can make bifocals for
me. Let me know how you make out on this because I have the same
difficulties you do.

Kim Starbard

Hi Roberta,

There is "Optivisor", "Donegan Optisight magnifying visor, Bausch
and Lomb Magna Visor, Mageyes Dual acrylic Lens magnifier and Easy
Eyes four-in-one magnifier. 

I’m in the same boat as you, my eyes don’t see as well as they used
to. I’ve used several of the units you listed but have found the
Opticaid made by EdRoy to be the best one going, It’s listed in the
Vol. 56 Stuller tool catalog on page 323 for $21.95, They’re
available in 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 10 power. The Opticaid is made of clear
polycarbonate & clips on to your glasses with a stainless steel
wire. The wire clip is formable for different style glasses. When not
needed, it can be left on the glasses & folded up toward the


Hello dear Roberta,

I am using an Optivisor from Carl Zessis (Germany),its magnification
is 2X, I purchased it in Dec 1992,and since that time I am using
it,and it is as good as new even today the lenses are in exellent
condition even after so many years of continuos use.

I am 47 years old today and this above optivisor with 2X
magnigfication was advised by an expert from Dental field, who said
that this 2X magnification is best for the eyes for continuous use
and I can say that he was right when he advised me 15 years ago, and
i am using this optivisor since last 15 years with out straining my
eyes.even today I use it for 8 hours daily for all my jewellery
manufacturing work…

The best thing about this above optivisor is its design of the frame
which holds the lenses. It is very light weight and easily adjustable
head band,and very durable,even after 15 years of use it is still
like new.

I do not know if the above desigh is still available in Germany or
not. If it is still available then i can highly recommend it to all
who are working for 8 hours daily , any good quality optivisor with
2X magnification and the lenses made form glass will equally serve
the purpose.

hope this will help
May all be Peaceful, Healthy and Happy.


As a retired ophthalmologist this visual aid thing is deep in my
soul. It is a bit complicated but needen’t be. I’ll be happy to help
you (and any of you other Orchidians) through the process. Contact me
off-list and we’ll go through the details.

I’ve been working on a little book on this subject, but–lots of
things seem to get in the way of finishing. Now my dear wife has had
to have a revision of her lumbar spinal fusion, we’re now 11 months
out from her rear-ending and “it ain’t over yet”!!

My best to all,
Dr. Mac

Hi Kimberly,

Regarding magnification at the bench, have you considered the
magnification systems that show your work area on a computer or TV
screen right in front of you.

Very high magnification is possible (not really necessary). Much
easier on the eyes AND on the back. Some very recent advances in
imaging systems have made this quite affordable, much cheaper than
the articulated bench scopes.

Might be worth a look, I like mine so much I became a re-seller.


Regarding magnification at the bench, have you considered the
magnification systems that show your work area on a computer or TV
screen right in front of you. 

That’s an excellent suggestion - I use such a system on my little cnc
machine and sometimes on my watch lathe and, apart from being more
restful on the eyes, it lets me see from angles I can’t usually get
at. I use the little wireless ‘spy’/security video cameras from Hong
Kong which cost me around 20UKP ($40) for the colour camera, wireless
receiver and wall wart. I use them connected by a wire to the monitor
though as motor noise affects the wireless signal. On the cnc machine
I us a 7" dvd portable player as the monitor as its dvd drive is
broken and it is a convenient size to mount next to the machine but
the 15" LCD computer monitor I also use is even better. The lenses on
these cameras are easily adjusted as they are on a screw thread and
they will screw out to focus down to about 1/4"!! Depending on the
make, they will work in fairly low light levels but if you choose the
’pinhole’ type, the picture will degrade as the light level falls.

Best wishes,

Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


I have to share my great magnifying discovery. I do granulation and
was looking for something to use as a magnifier. I didn’t want the
headgear (don’t want to mess up my 'do) and I wear glasses already.
Lo and behold, my optometrist had the perfect solution! He took my
prescription and added a magnifying strength to it! I bought some of
his inexpensive “package deal” glasses and he created new lenses for
me that combined my prescription with about a 5x magnification.
Total cost: $99. That included scratch coating. Now I can just put
them on and granulate all day long.

Check with your optometrist about possibilities. I told some friends
and they had it done to their glasses and are really happy.

Tammy Kirks

Regarding magnification at the bench, have you considered the
magnification systems that show your work area on a computer or TV
screen right in front of you. 

I teach using a camera system like the one described, but I am
unable to work under it. We need both eyes for depth perception.
Having the image on a screen ‘flattens’ it. It would be good to have
to teach with, or to let a customer see how a repair is done, but
next to impossible to work under.

I’ve spent a ton of money on optics over the years. I’m going to get
safety glasses with transitional lenses (for my near sighted
prescription and magnification too.)

I’ve got a stereo zoom microscope for stuff like engraving and
detailing models that are on a gravers ball- it’s less than ideal,
as I get a sore neck and I tend to lean into the eyepieces and this
gives me a sinus headache.

I have Obrira binocular loupes- these are good for stonesetting and
detailing waxes and metal models, but would be overkill for sizing
rings and cleaning castings.

Finally, I have a Megaview (it’s like an optivisor- but has a really
comfortable headband, and 3 interchangeable lenses). The focal
length is nice, and the optics are great. It’s by far my favorite
optivisor type aid.

I hope this helps.

Kate Wolf, in Portland, Maine- hosting wicked good workshops by the bay.

Thanks for your excellent insight, Kate. I have clients who do well
with working via the flat screen TV’s and also have some who have a
problem with it for the reason you mentioned (no depth). I have a
friend who is a money-winning, championship level billiards
player…he has only one eye! He was born sightless in one eye, yet
can play with the best, WITHOUT depth perception!! Amazing.


Hiya Kate,

Who makes the MegaView… is there a mfr’s name on it? Thanks!


hey, kate wolf!

tell us more about the megaview. how much distance is there between
your forehead and the front of the lens? i have to use magnification
when i pierce, and my optivisor bumps against the frame of the saw
unless i sit to the side. perhaps megaview doesn’t take up as much

jean adkins

I use the Eschenbach Premium frames with interchangeable lenses.
Kind of pricey, but imho they are by far the best thing there is
without spending many hundreds of dollars. Very small and light
weight, and it doesn’t give me tunnelvision like optivisors do. They
are virtually invisible with the lenses raised. They also don’t give
you the “Optivisor head squeeze hairdo”. There are five lenses
available in strengths from 1.7X to 3X. I use the 2X for most things,
but the 1.7 is great for polishing and things needing more focal
length. I use the 3X for stone setting and engraving and the like.
The 3X gives me a headache after a few hours, but I usually don’t
need to use it for that long. The only downside I have found after
ten years of virtually constant use is that you must make sure the
lenses are correctly aligned with your line of sight or they will
give you distorted vision. This became automatic for me after about a

I also use a Meiji EMZ-8TR microscope with a video system connected
to a computer in the showroom. It was purchased from GRS for very
detailed engraving and micro-pave’ type work. In addition to being
able to see what I’m looking at, I can use it to show my customers
things up close without having to give a short class on the proper
use of a loupe. Now I hear “Wow! Can you fix that?” instead of “I
can’t see what you’re talking about”. Very handy at take-in and it
sells more repair work than I do. I can also burn DVD’s of their
diamonds and jewelry with motion which is much better than still
photos for appraisals or whatever.

The Eschenbach German made frames are available from Frei and Borel
as are the MegaView and the Bausch and Lomb Magna Visor. The
microscope setup I have is available from GRS.


I use a pair of reading glasses picked up at the drug store. Get the
strongest ones they have. Works great.

Irv B.

“Best” is entirely subjective.

I use a Behr model 55, (clips onto regular eyeglasses,
even wire frames, available in several powers) which I have modified
with an extension of rhodiumed brass tubing to put the lens out about
2 1/2 inches. It looks odd perhaps but its super lightweight so it
can be worn all day without scrunching the muscles in the back of
your head, gives me a comfortable working distance and magnification
and leaves my other eye free for peripheral vision. Its also good for
piercing, because its a small lens you can get up close to your blade
if need be.

tell us more about the Megaview. how much distance is there between
your forehead and the front of the lens? 

the distance from my eyes to the lens is 2.5 inches. The Megaview
comes withe three lenses: 2X, 2-1/2X & 3X for a working distance of
10", 8" & 5"

I don’t work for Megaview, I just like this product.

Have a great day!

Kate Wolf in Portland, Maine hosting wicked good workshops by the bay.

I used OptiVisors for thirty years, then lucked into a pair of wire
framed Carl Zeiss Jena 2X binocular loupes.

It’s In The Works Studio

I want to thank Kate for her suggesting the Megaview to me while at
the CIM in Tucson this past February. Like a lot of you, my eyes
can’t see as well close up as they have previously. I purchased the
Megaview, it is light around the head (can’t even tell it is there)
and the ability to flip the lenses up (when not in use) is great.

I like this product too. Again, thank you Kate for suggesting it to

jennifer friedman