What Is a Hand Lens?

hand-lens Credit: davidd/CC-BY-2.0

A hand lens is used to magnify items. Hand lenses are used in scientific research, police work and everyday life. Hand lenses are magnifying glasses small enough to be held in a hand and easy to manipulate.

Hand lenses are useful in both private and professional life. In private life, they are used for hobbies or to aid deteriorating eyesight. Manipulating small parts on model cars is an example of hobby use, while using a hand lens to read a book or other text helps when the user is losing his eyesight. In professional use, hand lenses help many different types of workers. Scientists use hand lenses to view little things, such as pebbles, bugs or small particles, that do not need to be put under a microscope. Police use hand lenses to search for small pieces of evidence and more closely examine them, such as hair, lint and fingerprints. Jewelers use hand lenses to pick out specific details and faults within gemstones to appraise the value of the jewel.

Hand lenses have been in use for centuries and come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common shape is a circle with a handle, but there are also rectangular and square hand lenses that are regularly used.