Medium-distance magnifiers for watching TV, theatre, lectures, concerts etc.
A "TV" magnifier is set to focus at 'medium' distance (e.g. a TV or the front of a classroom) rather than close-up (e.g. for reading).
There were two models, one by Eschenbach and one by us, Quicktest.
The Eschenbach model is no longer available.
However, for the sake of completeness, here are the details of how the two compare.
Magnification: about 2X
Weight: about 50g (Eschenbach 52g; Quicktest 48g)
Focus range: 3ft to infinity (this will vary slightly depending on your prescription).
APPEARANCE, PRESENTATION, ACCESSORIES
Cosmetically the two models are very similar.
The Eschenbach (top picture) has 'Eschenbach' moulded into the arms, the two front lenses are designed as two (see the picture, notice the gap in the middle), it is supplied in a hard nylon carrying case. The arms have two small holes for attaching a strap / lanyard (not supplied) for hanging around the neck.
The Quicktest (bottom picture) has the two front lenses moulded as one (notice the bridge between them, in the picture); it is supplied in a sturdy cardboard box but no carrying case. The arms have two large holes for attaching a strap / lanyard (included) for hanging around the neck. It also has 'vents' in the side to stop the lenses misting up.
CONSTRUCTIONThe Eschenbach has two individual lenses, each can be focused separately. This is good if the prescription for each of your eyes is significantly different. Each lens of the Quicktest-TV can also be focused separately but (because the lenses are joined) you might not be able to use this if the prescription on each of your eyes is greatly different.
The focus mechanism on Quicktest is perfectly smooth, easy to fine-focus. Disappointingly, the Eschenbach doesn't focus smoothly, fine-focusing is fiddly.
Regarding comfort, there isn't much to choose between the two, both are lightweight, the Quicktest has a slight advantage at 48g (the Eschenbach weighs 52g) - though you wouldn't notice the difference.
The lenses on Eschenbach are slightly larger than on the Quicktest. This sounds good but it isn't. The Eschenbach has distortion around the edges. You don't notice it if you keep your head still (i.e. it's good for watching TV) but if you move your head from side to side you go quite dizzy (not so good for watching live theatre or sport).
Regarding the clarity, I'm particularly fussy, I look at the detail of the rods in a TV aerial in the far distance. The Eschenbach is tricky (stiff) to fine-focus which means it takes a while to get a clear image; the Quicktest focuses easily and smoothly. Comparing the two (once perfectly focused) the Quicktest is definitely sharper. This really won't make much difference for watching TV but it makes a difference if you want to see the expression on the faces of performers on a stage.
We get many enquiries about whether these are suitable for those with macular degeneration. It depends. If the "blank spots" are on the edge of your field of vision, the brain will "stitch together" the fragments of vision. However, if there's a large "blank spot" in centre of the field of vision (i.e. looking straight head) then looking straight ahead at the TV simply won't work, you won't see anything.
Two tips: a) if your optician has already told you that no magnifier will help, then perhaps give this one a miss; b) more effective than a magnifier is to get a larger TV and/or get close to it.
IF each of your eyes has a greatly different prescription the Eschenbach would be better - if it was available. If each of your eyes has a similar prescription the Quicktest will be fine - and it's slightly better in optical quality and easier to focus. Our last price on the Eschenbach was £69.00 (or £57.50 if you are registered partially sighted and don't pay VAT); the Quicktest is £49.00 (or £40.83 if you are registered partially sighted and don't pay VAT).
As a normal-sighted person I tried these for watching TV, they transform our little TV into a seemingly huge TV. My favoured option is to get a larger TV but my wife says it's not necessary, she says I have the TV glasses and that's much cheaper than getting a new TV!
HOWEVER, at a lecture, the effect was completely different. I sat at the back of the hall (to test the magnifier) looking at a presentation projected onto a screen. Without the magnifier I really couldn't read any of the text on the illustrations, I couldn't read any of the numbers on the graphs; with the magnifiers I could read everything; even though the magnification is only 2X, it was like magic, it was like sitting in the front row.