In The Loupe: Dental Loupes I

Yes, I am referring to the glasses/goggle looking magnifier of all things small and intraoral. I've been a bit out of the loupe loop when it comes to loupes. There seems to be a lack of information available to help dental students decide on if or what type of loupe to get. Nevertheless, I've decided that I do want loupes, the type or brand of loupe, well, that's another story. There are a lot of specifications to take into consideration and a world of gimmicks to avoid.
So let's talk a little bit about Loupes.


Why Get Them?
Magnification of small intraoral structures, and most importantly ergonomics. One of the major concerns for dentists and dental hygienists is work related injuries. Long hours of awkward sitting, neck posture and eye strain from working in such tiny quarters can really take its toll leading to serious consequences which can be threatening to your career. Because of the magnifying capabilities of loupes, they offer:
  • Reduced eye, neck and back fatigue
  • Better visualization of small structures in the oral cavity
  • Enhanced view of instruments while you work
  • Better work/preps which leads to better grades and increased confidence - and pt satisfaction :)

When To Get Them:
In my opinion, students should get them when they start working in the simulation lab for ergonomic reasons.

Types of Loupes:
Flip-Up - These have the magnification barrels suspended over the glasses by a pivoting arm attached to the nospiece of the glasses.
Pros:
Costs a lot less than TTL
Can easily flip them up when not in use (example: when talking to a patient) 
Easy to add a prescription frame
adjustable angle of inclination
Cons:
Can incorrectly adjust the angle of inclination leading to eye and musculoskeletal problems 
Weigh significantly more than TTLs which can put additional strain on neck and back
They have a narrower field of view because they are mounted farther away from the eyes


Through The lens (TTL) - These have the magnifiation barrels directly on the lens of the glasses.
Pros:
 Weighs less than flip ups
Provides wider field of view
Custom fitted for you personally so no adjustment needed
Cons:
Costs more than flip-ups
If you have a prescription for your lens and your prescription changes,
you will have to send it to the manufacturer to be adjusted ($$)
You have to take loupes off or look up through the lens while talking to patients.


How to Choose the Right Loupe:
Consider the specs:
  • Depth of Field
  • Field of View 
  • Working Distance
  • Flip-Up versus TTL type
  • Resolution
  • Magnification
  • Comfort
  • Weight
  • Design
Consider the brands:
  • Zeiss
  • Surgitel
  • Orascoptic
  • SheerVision
  • Design For Vision
  • Quality Aspirators
  • Heine, etc

Resources and Links:
The ADHA
Loupe Direct

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