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Buyers Guide: How To Chose Right Dental Loupes

In the field of dentistry, we work in a small dark hole on even smaller objects that require precision down to the micron level. If that doesn’t sound hard enough, that dark void constantly closes up and fills with liquid, further obscuring your vision. The good news is that we have a tool that can ease the level of difficulty: the dental loupes


Improved ergonomics are an additional benefit to using loupes. Most loupes allow you to set a focal distance that allows you to sit up straight with full magnification, eliminating the need to bend over to see something better. 
How much magnification do I need? As your loupes increase in magnification, they also decrease in field of view (how many teeth you can see at a time). They also decrease in the amount of light coming through the lens, making your field of view darker.
For hygienists, it helps to see more teeth at one time, so 2x-3x magnification is a good range for scaling and polishing.
For the dentist who will potentially be only working on one tooth for a crown prep, 4x-6x magnification is a better range.
Resolution.Resolution is the synergistic specification to field of view, and these are, in my opinion, the two most important features to look for in a pair of loupes. Resolution relates to the clarity of the image throughout the field of vision. 
A good way to explain the synergy of field of view + resolution is by comparing the Kindle with the iPhone:
‘Would you say the larger, low resolution screen of the kindle is better than the small, high resolution screen of the iPhone?’
In my opinion the latter is the better screen and the same idea applies with dental loupes. (i.e. a smaller field of view with a higher resolution is better than the reverse.)
Conclusion: Both a large field of view and a high resolution are important in a pair of dental loupes. However, I would choose a higher resolution in preference to a larger field of view. 

Field Depth. This is the area in which the working site will stay in focus, for example:
You are looking at a tooth…
The field depth of your loupes is 10cm…
Therefore, you can lean backwards or forwards 5cm from the working distance and the tooth will stay in focus.
Diagram : x= Working Distance – y= Field Depth
N.B. Field depth is also proportional to working distance (i.e a longer working distance= larger field depth). 
Prescription lenses.If you use glasses with prescription lenses, it is important that you have the option of fitting your loupes frames with the correct prescription. Otherwise, the loupes will not perform according to specifications. The standard frames, can easily be fitted with prescription lenses by your optician. Loupes are also available in a "clip-on" option, which can be clipped on to your regular glasses.
Working distance. The working distance refers to the distance between your eyes, and the patient's mouth. You can measure this while assuming your normal working position, making sure you are comfortable, that your back is straight, and that you are not leaning forward too much. Perhaps you could ask someone to assist you in this procedure. You can also use the following table to help determine the best working distance for your personal needs:
Height <170 cm (5ft 7 in) 170-190 cm (5ft 7 in to 6ft 4 in) >190 cm (6ft 4 in)
Sitting 340 mm (14 in) 420 mm (16 in) 500 mm (20 in)
Standing 420 mm (16 in) 500 mm (20 in) 550 mm (22in)
The Most Important Rule: If you contact a representative from any of the loupe brands, they are always more than happy to let you borrow a pair of loupes for a couple of weeks, free of charge. Make sure to try ALL of the brands…no written guide can tell you exactly what’s best for you.

Getting a Friend to Measure Your PD: (also called Pupillary Distance, Inter-Pupillary Distance or Pupil Distance)

This technique uses a second person to measure your Pupillary Distance (PD).

1. Both of you should be sitting down approximately 45cm apart. The person having their PD measured keeps both eyes open. When your friend is taking the measurement, they must keep one eye closed.


2. The ruler is held against the forehead as shown above. The person having the PD measured looks into the open eye of the person taking the measurement.

The “0” is lined up with the centre of one pupil. Record the number lining up with the centre of the other pupil in millimetres. This is the measurement for the “near PD”. Neither person should move their head during this procedure. This procedure will not work if the person having their PD measured has a turned eye. You have just used this technique to measure your near PD.

When you enter your PD details on the Stingy Specs glasses prescription form, enter the number you have just measured into the “near PD” field. Enter your “distance PD” which is calculated by adding 3mm to the “near PD.” (This rule is accurate for most people).


Eg Near PD= 57
Distance PD= 57 + 3= 60


Instead of using the centre of the pupils, you can use the edge of the pupils as shown below. (be careful to use inside edge of one pupil and outside edge of the other pupil.)





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  • - hassan(04/01/2015)
    very helpful! thanks for sharing.
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