RogerBW's Blog

Optivisor 22 March 2016

I treated myself to an Optivisor after my eye surgery last year, since now I can't take advantage of myopia to get in within an inch or two of small things that I'm working on. It's effectively a pair of magnifying lenses on a convenient head-mount.

I use it for various sorts of fine work: 3D printer maintenance, finishing printed pieces, the fiddlier bits of building computers, and so on. There are many imitators, but Donegan Optical makes the original version.

There is a range of magnifications available, and the temptation is obviously to get the most powerful one. However, the higher the power, the shorter the effective focal distance.

Item No.    Focal Length  Magnification
DA-2            20"           1.5x
DA-3 / LX3      14"           1.75x
DA-4 / LX4      10"           2x
DA-5 / LX5       8"           2.5x
DA-7 / LX7       6"           2.75x
DA-10            4"           3.5×

I ended buying a #4, and I wouldn't want to have to be significantly closer to the things I'm working on. It's been quite enough magnification for me so far.

The construction is basic solid plastic, nothing terribly sophisticated, but the headband is comfortable and adjustable. I can wear this for hours at a time, knocking it down into place when I want it. It's also compatible with a head-torch with a little fiddling, which has occasionally been very useful.

Swapping out the lens plates is easy, as they're secured by a couple of screws; but the things are only plastic and I wouldn't expect the threads to last for very long if one were doing this often. Better to get another headband unit if you have a regular use for multiple magnifications.

Donegan also sells an OptiLoupe, which fits in place of one of the mounting screws and provides an extra 2.5× magnification to one eye, which can be rotated in and out. I haven't felt a need for this yet.

This is a plain simple tool which does what it's supposed to.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Tags: toys

See also:
Eye Lasers


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:52pm on 22 March 2016

    I was going to buy one and then saw the price. I'm sure it's great, but £60 for my likely use twice a year means I'll carry on using a magnifying glass and running out of hands.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:24pm on 22 March 2016

    I've seen them down to £40 but you may have to look around a bit. I find that, like the 3D printer, once I have it I find all sorts of uses for it.

  3. Posted by Chris Suslowicz at 11:00pm on 29 March 2016

    Ah! So you had the same problem with short sight an eye surgery? (In my case cataract surgery and my opting for "normal distance vision") Which is great apart from two minor irritations:

    1) I miss the protective effect of having a window between my eyes and the world.

    2) It's taken a while to train myself out of the "need a closer look, remove spectacles and bring object to end of nose" habit.

    My answer has been a set of cheap reading glasses in various strengths, plus a large workbench magnifier/lamp for use when soldering or assembling small stuff.

    Choosing distance vision over reading was, I think. the right answer.

    Chris.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 11:57pm on 29 March 2016

    Yes, I discovered that I had largely lost my blink reflex when e.g. pushing through foliage.

    My eyes are at -1 left, 0 right, so I can both read and see at a distance, but for real detail work this helps a great deal.

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