Dental loupes consist of lens or series of lenses which when set up allow for optical enlargement of objects that are shown through them i.e. they make things look bigger.
Advantages of using loupes
• Improving the posture of the dentist while practicing dentistry hence, reducing back pain (which is the most frequent work related muco-skeletal disorder and is experienced by around 80% of dentists).
• Improving the quality of practiced dentistry as a good amount of details can be seen through the loupes.
There are certain things dentists should look for when selecting and analyzing dental loupes:
• Magnification: it ranges from 2.5x to 6x on average.
The recommended magnification for a novice is 2.5x to 3x and it is a great magnification for general dentistry.
• Field of view: how much of the working site you can visualize through loupes.
A larger field of view allows the dentist to bring instruments into the field easily and generally, it is easier to adapt to.
For 2.5x magnification, a good field of view would be approximately 10 cm.
• Depth of field: the depth of area that is visible and in focus while looking through the loupes.
A larger depth of field is preferred as the deep area is visible through the loupes.
The size of the depth of field corresponds directly to the working distance. i.e. loupes with a longer working distance will have a larger depth of field and vice versa.
The higher the magnification, the narrower the field and depth of view.
Properties should be looked at when considering the quality of the lens:
Optical system's ability to form distinguishable images of objects separated by small distances, or to recognize fine details.
2. Chromatic aberration
Looking at changes in color.
3. Spherical aberration
The most practical way to asses these three properties is by looking at a flat ruler through the loupes, check to see if you can distinguish fine lines, look at the color and also check if the lines appear straight.
Checking for any distortion in shape. An object that exhibits spherical aberrations would appear to be curved or spherical (the lines will not appear straight) when viewed through loupes.
Types of setup of lenses:
• Flip-up loupes
Have optics that are attached to a mechanism that allows them to ‘flip-up’ out of the way through the lens.
• Through the lens loupes
Have optics that are set in the lens of the frame. This type of loupes has more advantages because loupes are fully customized, have a wide field of view, weigh less and have an optimal setup.
Finally, illumination is greatly beneficial, an output between 30 000 – 40 000 Lux is more than sufficient.
You should also consider collimation as ideally, a focused beam is required.
A weight of 15 to 20 grams is tolerable.
The battery should be lithium based, it should last for at least one session and ideally recharge in under an hour for practical reasons.
There are many companies selling loupes including Optilube, Optident, Orascoptic and the list goes on.