Traditionally one does not use magnification for gross examination of
surgical specimens, but as eyes get older and biopsy specimens get
smaller, it's increasingly difficult to do without it. Surgeons, of
course, use magnification when operating on small lesions, and are
occasionally surprised that pathologists do not use it.
I've been using a binocular magnifier mounted on a headband that
includes a swivel that moves it up out of the way when it isn't
needed. Called an OptiVISOR, it's made by Donegan Optical Company,
located in Lenexa, Kansas, wherever that is. See
for a picture and a clear explanation of how it works.
I have the #4 lens plate, with a 10 inch focal length. I think the
slightly weaker #3 lens plate, with a 14 inch focal length, might be
more practical, particularly if you have to stand up (rather than sit
down) to gross, as is also the tradition.
I would think that the OptiVISOR would also be useful to histotechs
over a certain age who do paraffin embedding, though the ones I've
offered to lend mine to have been too set in their ways to consider a
I bought my magnifier at a gem and mineral show in 1994. Presently
they cost about US$40 including shipping. Donegan Optical doesn't sell
retail, but you can Google optivisor to find vendors. Amazon has them.
I have no affiliation with Donegan or Amazon.
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