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Loupes are portable optical magnification devices that are used to magnify small objects. They are available in different types and sizes. Loupes can be used in different industries and applications, too. Among the applications of loupes are listed here.
A loupe is a portable optical aid that is used to magnify small objects. It allows you to see a small object closely and in detail by making it look larger. A loupe functions like a typical magnifying glass or a microscope. However, unlike a microscope, a loupe doesn’t magnify objects several hundreds of times. Contrary to a typical magnifying glass, a loupe does not have any handle attached to the focusing lens. Instead, the lens is seated in a cone, fold, or opaque cylinder.
Loupes are available in different types and sizes. Each of them has its unique features and applications. These optical magnification devices are also used in different industries including jewelry and gemology, dentistry, watchmaking, electronics, biology, and surgery.
Jewelry and Gemology
Jewelers and gemologists use a handheld type of loupe or a refracting telescope to inspect and grade a gemstone or jewelry. This type of loupe is known as a monocular. This lightweight and compact loupe allows jewelers and gemologists to see the small details of a jewelry or gemstone like the hallmarks and diamond clarity.
Jeweler loupes are available in different magnification powers. Jewelers and gemologists often use a loupe with 10x magnification power for general jewelry and gemstone inspection and grading. Some use loupes with higher magnification levels especially when more meticulous clarity grading is required.
Electronic components are getting more and more compact these days. This is why the use of a magnifying loupe in the electronic industry specifically in circuit assembling is becoming a standard requirement.
Electronics engineers, technologists, and technicians use loupes to manually inspect completed circuit boards. The loupes allow them to see the small details and components and to identify any manufacturing defects like misaligned or missing components and solder bridging. Electronic technicians also use loupes in repairing electronic devices with extra small components.
Most of the time, biologists use a full-sized microscope to study species and organisms especially those that are microscopic. However, in situations where it is impractical to use a microscope like during field studies, biologists use loupes, instead.
Assembling mechanical watches involves very tiny and detailed parts. It will be very difficult for watchmakers to assemble a mechanical watch by just using their bare eyes. To aid them in the process of installation and assembling all the tiny parts, details, and even the small precious stones, watchmakers use magnification loupes.
Surgical operations that involve delicate structures like microsurgery require the use of magnification optical aid. While many surgeons use a typical surgical microscope or operating microscope when performing microsurgery, others prefer the use of personalized surgical loupes.
Surgical loupes are often used in delicate procedures like vascular surgery, otolaryngology, cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, and neurosurgery.
Dentistry involves working on a secluded, dark, and hard-to-reach part of the body- the oral cavity. Aside from being dark and secluded, the teeth and other parts of the oral cavity are quite small. While a simple tooth extraction procedure can easily be done without any optical aid, many times, dentists need to use loupes to gain better access to their work area.
Dental loupes help dental therapists, hygienists, and dentists see a larger, closer, and more detailed image of the oral cavity. This provides them better access to the oral cavity and allows them to devise an accurate diagnosis of any oral problem. When performing a visual and tactile examination, for instance, improved visuality offered by loupes allows a dentist to easily and correctly differentiate a cavity from a stain. Being able to see the object they are working on clearly also allows dental professionals more precision when completing treatment.
Dental loupes do not only help improve the clinical performance, accuracy, and precision of dental therapists, hygienists, and dentists. These optical magnification lenses also provide ergonomic benefits to users. The right, properly-fitted loupes can help decrease any occupational strain by allowing dental therapists, hygienists, and dentists to work in an upright, healthy, and ergonomic posture. Since loupes offer better access to and visuality of the oral cavity, dentists and hygienists no longer have to lean forward and downward towards their patient's direction when performing any dental work. This can significantly help improve their working posture and avoid chronic musculoskeletal pain or injury.
Dental and surgical loupes
Unlike those that are used in other industries which often include just a single lens, loupes that are used in surgery and dentistry include two lenses. Dental and surgical loupes are binocular loupes that are worn by dentists and surgeons to enhance the size of the object or area they are working on. Dental and surgical loupes are available in two types- the flip-up loupes and the through the lens (TTL) loupes or front-mounted loupes. The types of loupes differ from each other in many ways especially in terms of the position of their optical barrels.
The optical barrels of the TTL loupes are mounted directly into the lens of the carrier frame, while the optical barrels of the flip-up loupes are mounted to the carrier frame via a hinge mechanism that is attached to the upper portion of the bridge of the nose.
The magnification levels used in dental and surgical loupes range from 2.0x to 6.0x. Loupes with the lowest magnification power are used for general dentistry works. They are also often used by students and hygienists. Dental technicians and dentists use loupes with higher magnification power for dental prodecures that require high levels of precision like root canal microsurgery, prosthesis, and apicoectomy.
The best surgical loupes and dental loupes are those that are customized according to the interpupillary distance, working distance, desired focal distance, and corrected vision of the user.