As a clinical professor and dental hygienist, I have experienced firsthand the process of purchasing loupes. Style is often a key factor in the purchasing decision, along with magnification power, weight, and cost. But what about the headlight? The light is often overlooked and considered by many to be an optional accessory. Incorporating a light as a part of your investment is essential in order realize the full benefit of using magnification. Without proper lighting, we are simply magnifying darkness and straining our eyes.
The first pair of loupes I wore in my career were purchased for me by my boss, as it was a requirement to wear them to work in his office. My boss had an early realization of the critical role that loupes play in delivering “state of the art” patient care. Unfortunately, his focus on providing optimal care did more harm than good for me. The loupes that he had graciously purchased for me were not the correct size, shape, weight or working distance for my needs. I ended up with pain that I didn’t have previously and felt dizzy most of the day. I often worked with the telescope up and quickly formed the assumption that loupes were not for me.
Imagine working with a scratched patient mouth mirror. The scratches on the mirror prevent the clinician from easily evaluating the oral cavity. Therefore, the clinician’s eyes are left straining to identify the details needed to diagnose the patient. Like a scratched mirror, clinicians working without magnification are often left straining their eyes. Wearing loupes decreases the clinician’s eye strain and overall stress on the body.
When first purchasing loupes, it is recommended to select the lowest magnification that meets your needs. A 2.5X magnification is most common for first-time loupe wearers as there is a larger field of view which is easier to adjust to and use in delivering patient care. As vision changes over time, your magnification may need to increase to reduce the stress on the eyes and optimize the effectiveness of using loupes. Let’s review the signs and symptoms that reflect a need for an upgraded magnification:
Craftsmanship, the skill and art of creating items, has long been associated with handmade manufacturing processes. When thinking of luxury items, the specific identification of an article as ‘hand crafted’ connotes quality, expertise and artistry. This perception holds true for both products and services. Many healthcare professions, including dentistry, have a proud heritage in the hands-on delivery of clinical and aesthetic care by dentists, specialists and dental hygienists. Dexterity, handiness and manual agility are valued attributes in our profession.