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.
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: