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Surgical loupes are becoming a standard not only in the world of dentistry but in the field of medicine as well. Today let us talk about a surgeon’s honest remarks on the advantages of using surgical loupes.
I know there are still a lot of professionals out there who are doubtful about whether a pair of surgical loupes is worth the investment or not. And I deeply understand them as I, too, was in great doubt before I had my first pair.
My journey towards meeting my first pair of loupes
Actually, I have first learned about loupes in our annual convention four to five years ago. There were some professionals who are talking about them and there were also two or three companies who introduced them during the event. I was not that interested in knowing more about the instrument at that time. Until recently I met a friend from college who has been using loupes for years already.
One time when I visited her at her clinic, she casually asked me what brand and model of loupes I am using. I told her I am not using loupes and she was like “what? Why not? You better try it or you’ll miss half of your life”. Then she started telling me more about loupes. She has nothing but great stories about her experiences using these portable magnifying loupes. To cut the story short, I was convinced to give it a shot.
Then I started doing my research. I’ve searched and compared different models/brands, read countless reviews, case studies, and articles about surgical loupes. Among the many brands I looked into, I got interested in trying the Schultz Optical loupes. They were offering a free trial program that time and I thought it would be best to try the loupes on and see how it feels working with them first before I actually buy them. Again, to make a long story short, I placed my order, received the demo loupes, and ended up actually buying a new pair from them. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Using loupes for over a year, what benefits I enjoyed and continue enjoying?
So for this, I will share how I benefited from using loupes. This is more of personal experience (and the experience of my friend as well) and not just a typical bulleted list of benefits you’ll see elsewhere.
One of the major things that made me so happy about using loupes is the improvement in my visual acuity. As a general surgeon, I thought having loupes is not a necessity as I was able to see the operating field with my bare eyes. I was sometimes struggling to see the operating field in crisp detail and to stay in focus for long hours, though, but I thought those instances were just normal. Until I tried using loupes and successfully went through the learning curve.
“My surgical loupes helped improve my visual acuity and offered some more benefits...”
Now, with my loupes, I can be able to have better access to the operating field and to stay in focus from start to finish. The optical lenses display very clear, undistorted images, allowing me to see very clearly in sharp detail.
Because I am able to see a clearer image of the area I am working on, I enjoyed a lot of benefits. First, my hand and eye coordination greatly improved which makes me work x times faster than before using loupes. When you can’t see clearly, putting the right surgical tools into the right place can be a real challenge. And as a surgeon relying largely on my eyes and hands, poor coordination of these two organs can lead not only to slower work pace but also to less accurate movements. With the surgical loupes on, I have better control over my eye movement and synchronize it with my hand movement.
Second, I am able to improve my productivity. I am able to increase my productivity by up to 2-3x, and even more on certain occasions.
Third, I am now able to perform surgical operations with better precision and accuracy. I can now bid goodbye to incision mistakes and other minor or major surgical mistakes many surgeons are guilty of committing (though unintentionally committed) because of visual limitations. Precision and accuracy are everything most especially if the life of our patient is in the line. I am only able to enjoy high levels of precision and accuracy if I am working with my TTL loupes on.
Using surgical loupes greatly helped me to become a better surgeon. But aside from the work-related benefits, I also want to point out some personal benefits I earned.
I have been practicing for over a decade now. Through the years, I experienced a lot of personal struggles (but still related to my career, though). One of these struggles is my chronic pain.
I believe that chronic pain, especially musculoskeletal pain, is not new to everyone in the medical and dental field. We all experience musculoskeletal pain every once in a while and more often if most of our time at work is spent at the operating room. Same as my case.
Just like any other surgeons, I also experienced pain in the back, neck, shoulder, and head. During my first two to three years in practice, I used a pain reliever to momentarily get rid of the pain. I also resorted to having a regular massage and doing appropriate stretching techniques. And all worked. At least, during that time.
But as years passed by, I noticed I no longer found relief using these methods. And the worst part is that my musculoskeletal pain exacerbated and became chronic to a point that I need to see a chiropractor. My vertebral column was also affected. This became evident in my slouching posture. Sessions with my chiropractor helped me cope up with the pain but it still comes and goes.
I am not saying that my chiropractor is not that skilled enough to help me completely fix my musculoskeletal problem. The thing is, because of my poor posture at work, the pain keeps coming back. How can you fix a problem if you have not dealt with the root cause yet, right?
I have nothing else to do but to endure with it since I don’t have other choices but to work in a slumping posture. In order to see the operating field with my bare eyes, I need to bend my upper body forward and my head downward. I stay in such a position for hours during surgical operations.
“My TTL loupes helped me fix my poor posture...”
Now, here’s a catch. My TTL loupes helped me fix my poor posture. My loupes are customized to fit me well – in terms of working distance, angle of declination, and interpupillary distance. When wearing my loupes, I no longer have to keep that uncomfortable, painful, unsightly slumping posture while performing surgical operations. The loupes allow me to see the operating region within my working distance and with a minimal downward head tilt while standing in a neutral, comfortable, and upright posture.
During the first few months of using loupes, I noticed that I no longer feel the same intense pain as before. There were even days that I went home pain-free. And now, after over a year of using loupes plus an appointment with my chiropractor and regular stretching/exercise, I am proud to say that I am enjoying a pain-free practice.
Apart from chronic musculoskeletal pain, loupes also helped reduce my eye fatigue. As we try to focus our eyes into smaller details and force them to see beyond their normal capacity, we are putting too much pressure on them. This can lead to both eye strain and headache. Thanks to my Schultz loupes, I no longer experience this problem.
With all the benefits my loupes offer, I have nothing but great stories to tell, too (just like my friend). I am so thankful that I gave it a try and I never regret the day I made such a decision. Now, I am so used to working with them, and I think I will not be as effective and efficient in the operating room without my loupes.
“The surgical loupes are worth your investment...”
As for those who are still in doubt, I guess, this optical aid is worth a try and it is more than worthy of your investment as well. If you are someone who has the same experience, just try it, you’ll be thankful later on. But remember, you must pick the right loupes in order to enjoy the benefits they offer.
I also have some words to say about my Schultz TTL loupes. This is not part of the benefits I enjoyed from using loupes, though, but I still like to mention it. Of all the loupes I checked, I was attracted to Schultz loupes right away because my friend recommended it (she has used and tried a couple of models and brands already but settled with loupes) and because it is by far the lightest of its kind and the most pocket-friendly high-quality loupes on the market.