How do I know when it’s time to upgrade my loupes?
While evidence-based guidelines on when loupes should be replaced are not available, you may experience symptoms indicating it’s time for an upgrade. Personal vision changes may encourage you to change your loupes, especially if you are experiencing headaches, increased neck strain, or a decrease in clarity.1 Because visual acuity decreases with age, eye examinations are recommended every 2 years.
Galilean loupes are most often used for dental hygiene procedures, and they offer magnification in the range of 2.0x to 3.5x. Galilean loupes contain a concave lens and a convex lens to produce a clearer image than a single lens. They typically provide a sufficient width and depth of field. Prismatic, or Keplerian, loupes tend to be heavier, and they offer a magnification range of 3.5x to 8.0x, which is adjustable.2
Loupes are available in through-the-lens (TTL), flip-up, or interchangeable magnification lenses. TTL loupes do not need optical adjustment; however, additional fees may be incurred if you have a prescription added to the lenses. The manufacturer should measure your interpupillary distance with TTL, as the optics are fixed. Additionally, the fit; weight; declination angle (less than 20°); magnification (field of view); pupil distance; depth of field (working distance); lighted (wireless or corded); optics; image clarity; built-in antireflection; and cleanability are all factors to consider. Due to the need for increased personal protective equipment during the global pandemic, you should also think about how well a full face shield will work with your loupes.
The overall weight of loupes has decreased over the years, with frames produced in various materials such as plastic, nylon, titanium, and carbon composites. Options for frame designs have expanded with even the ability to change the color of the frame’s temple bars. It is important to choose a frame that fits you and provides eye protection rather than selecting a frame based on style. Frames now include a wrap-around design for improved protection.
Consider adding a light to your loupes to eliminate shadows and the need to reach overhead for a light. Lights have also decreased in weight. Some factors to consider include how long it takes for a battery pack to charge and how long the illumination lasts. Consider the location and weight of the wireless light’s battery pack. LED lights give cool, white light and last much longer than halogen. Many loupes have built-in antireflection that improves comfort and sharpness of vision. Ide et al3 recommend color rendering with less blue light to make use of blue-light blocking. Try various light options and assess for clarity and weight of unit.
Lighting, clarity of image, and weight options have changed over the years. You will want to try on options prior to purchasing the loupes package. Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so be sure to ask the representative about what is offered, so you can make an informed decision.
- Auger A. Do you see what I see? When It’s Time to Update Your Magnification. Available at: orascoptic.com/blog/do-you-see-what-i-see-when-it-s-time-update-your-magnification. Accessed March 18, 2021.
- Marsh L, Rivera M. Improving visual acuity. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. 2019;17(6):21–24.
- Ide T, Kinugawa Y, Nobae Y, et al. LED light characteristics for surgical shadowless lamps and surgical loupes. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2015;3:e562.
The Ask the Expert column features answers to your most pressing clinical questions provided by Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s online panel of key opinion leaders, including: Jacqueline J. Freudenthal, RDH, MHE, on anesthesia; Nancy K. Mann, RDH, MSEd, on cultural competency; Claudia Turcotte, CDA, RDH, MSDH, MSOSH, on ergonomics; Van B. Haywood, DMD, and Erin S. Boyleston, RDH, MS, on esthetic dentistry; Michele Carr, RDH, MA, on ethics and risk management; Erin Relich, RDH, BSDH, MSA, on fluoride use; Kandis V. Garland, RDH, MS, on infection control; Mary Kaye Scaramucci, RDH, MS, on instrument sharpening; Stacy A. Matsuda, RDH, BS, MS, on instrumentation; Karen Davis, RDH, BSDH, on insurance coding; Cynthia Stegeman, EdD, RDH, RD, LD, CDE, on nutrition; Olga A.C. Ibsen, RDH, MS, on oral pathology; Jessica Y. Lee, DDS, MPH, PhD, on pediatric dentistry; Timothy J. Hempton, DDS, on periodontal therapy; Ann Eshenaur Spolarich, RDH, PhD, on pharmacology; and Caren M. Barnes, RDH, MS, on polishing. Log on to dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/asktheexpert to submit your question.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. April 2021;19(4):46.