Recommendations for Buying Dental Loupes
THE NEXT DDS
As practicing dentists, you will be responsible for
purchasing and investing in the right technology. It is always important to
perform thorough research when looking to make a sound investment, and although
a set of dental loupes might not be the largest monetary investment you are
like to make in your future profession, it may be one of the most important and
frequently used pieces of technology that you come to own. With that in mind,
the question must be asked: what should be considered when purchasing dental
professionals demand superior visualization. The visualization of a loupe
system is governed by four key visual characteristics, ranked and described below
in order of importance:
- Field Width
- Field Depth
Resolution is the
capability to visualize small structures, and is established by the quality of
the optical design and the use of precision lenses. Loupes made with inferior
materials cannot deliver peak visualization across the entire viewing field.
Consider the widespread
consumer appeal for high-definition televisions as a testimony to the value of
resolution. Which would you rather own: a 52” projection television, or a 42”
high-definition television? Despite the larger screen, the viewing experience
on the projection TV would pale in comparison to the crystal clear, detailed
imaging of the HDTV.
Some loupe manufacturers
are fixated on an old convention that erroneously identifies magnifying power
as the most important feature. Do not be misled by this. It is much more
relevant to consider the resolution and field size when attempting to evaluate
the quality of loupes, rather than looking solely at the size of the image
produced. A loupe that can resolve many small features is going to be superior
to a loupe that produces a large, blurry image. The loupe that can resolve
smaller images is also better than loupes that provide sharp images in a narrow
region of space.
2. Field Width
Field width is the size of
the operating site when viewed through loupes. Healthcare professionals
appreciate a wider field of view because it is easier and quicker to adjust
when shifting from the naked eye to the loupe. A wider field also promotes less
eye fatigue. Field width is linked to the diameter of the telescope, the
optical design and the magnifying power – the higher the power, the smaller the
3. Field Depth
Field depth is the range
of focus delivered by the loupe. This determines how much you can lean in, or
lean back, while wearing your loupe, and still maintain focus of the entire
viewing field. Field depth is dependent on the available lighting, the optical
design, the magnifying power, and the eye’s ability to focus (i.e., accommodation).
4. Magnification Power
Magnification power is the
size of the image rather than the clarity of the image. There is no
standard measurement for magnifying power in the loupe market. Even though
specific labels have been used, most manufacturers actually round up to the
Other characteristics to
consider in a loupe system include its weight, the comfort and style of the
frame, and its working angle. Working angle, or angle of declination, allows
the user to work in a comfortable, ergonomically correct position, thus helping
prevent neck and back pain. Most flip-up hinge products and through-the-lens
systems can be custom set to the angle that works best for each user.
After your personal
evaluation, choose the loupe system that provides outstanding resolution across
the widest field, while simultaneously delivering a longer depth of field,
because it will truly have superior visualization. Remember to take into
account the four main points of consideration when evaluating loupes: resolution,
field width, field depth, and magnification power.
Do not forget to ensure
that the loupe system you ultimately choose must fit you properly, be
comfortable, should not be too heavy for you, and allow you to sit up straight
while maintaining necessary angles to visualize your field. Do all of this
evaluation for yourself, and you will find the best loupe system for your
personal use in everyday practice!
- Farook S, Stokes RJ, Davis AK, et al. Use of dental loupes among dental trainers and trainees in the UK. J Investig Clin Dent 2012 doi:10.1111/jicd.12002.
- Eichenberger M, Perrin P, Klaus KW, et al. Visual acuity of dentists under simulated clinical conditions. Clin Oral Investig 2012 doi 10.1007/s00784-012-0753-x.
- Eichenberger M, Perrin P, KW, et al. Influence of loupes and age on the near visual acuity of practicing dentists. J Biomed Opt 2011.