Dental Loupes: Useful Tool Or Just A Hoax?

I could still remember the first time I saw a dentist wearing a single dental loupe. With that thick optical lens he was wearing, I thought that the dentist had a severe vision defect. That was a naive opinion I had when I was younger and was not yet enrolled in the dental school. Magnification optical aids were not that popular back then. It was only until I got into my final college years when I learned about magnification. Even though I have been using a magnification aid since my first few years of practicing dentistry, I still have a lot of questions and concerns about dental loupes. And I know you too also have the same concerns I had before. It is for this reason why I end up writing this blog post. I am hoping that this short post can help shed light on whatever questions, confusion, or concerns you have about dental loupes and magnification. Are they really useful or just another hoax?

Can magnification optical aids weaken my eyes?

One of the common questions dentists and hygienists have about dental magnification loupes is if they can weaken the eyes. Before I bought my first pair of loupes, I consulted a few ophthalmologists first. I wanted to ask people who are knowledgeable enough about eye health because I know that if I ask the dental loupe manufacturer they will definitely say it will not hurt the eyes. All the ophthalmologists I contacted said that the use of magnification aids does not weaken or harm the eyes or get the user's eyesight compromised in any way.

Though magnification loupes do not harm the eyes, you still have to observe and deal with a few things when using loupes. First, you need to give your eye muscles enough time to adjust and readjust from magnified vision to normal vision and vice versa most especially if you have been wearing the loupes for several hours already. The best way to do this is to close your eyes and allow them to relax for a few minutes before and after using the loupes.

How can magnification affect my performance?

The inability to see the oral cavity or the area you are working on does not only hurt your eyes, it likewise leads to poor posture, lower quality dental care, and misdiagnosis. Working with limited vision also significantly slows the procedures. These issues can be best corrected by using the right dental loupes. Magnification allows you to have a better visual acuity which can help you avoid errors, and improve your performance.

What is the right magnification level for me?

Choosing the magnification level is quite a personal preference. It also depends on how you will going to use the dental optical loupes. For instance, if you will use them for general dental procedures including bone or soft tissue surgical procedures, tooth preparations (normal sized teeth), dental hygiene check up, and seating crowns, a 2.5x magnification level will do. More complicated procedures that require greater detail and precision hand movements like lower anterior teeth crown seating or crown preparations, fixed prosthesis evaluation, and micro surgery normally need higher magnification level. 

Choosing the magnification level is quite a personal preference. It also depends on how you will going to use the dental optical loupes. For instance, if you will use them for general dental procedures including bone or soft tissue surgical procedures, tooth preparations (normal sized teeth), dental hygiene check up, and seating crowns, a 2.5x magnification level will do. More complicated procedures that require greater detail and precision hand movements like lower anterior teeth crown seating or crown preparations, fixed prosthesis evaluation, and micro surgery normally need higher magnification level. 

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