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Recommendations for Buying Dental Loupes

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 loupes?

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:

  1. Resolution
  2. Field Width
  3. Field Depth
  4. Magnification

1. Resolution

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 field.

 

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 nearest 0.5×.

 

Other Considerations

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.

 

Conclusion

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!

 

Related Reading

  1. http://thenextdds.com/Articles/Binocular-Loupes-in-Dentistry/
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.  
  4. Eichenberger M, Perrin P, KW, et al. Influence of loupes and age on the near visual acuity of practicing dentists. J Biomed Opt 2011.  

 

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