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Because surgical loupes are not created equal, you should know the factors that you need to consider before shopping in order for you to pick the best loupe for you. These factors may include working distance, field of view, design, style, magnification, interpupillary distance, clarity, and resolution.
To help make your loupe shopping a bit enjoyable and less challenging, we have come up with an easy 3-step guide.
Step 1: Pick the right magnification
Choosing the magnification is quite a personal preference. If it is your first time to use a surgical loupe, it would be best to start at the lowest level. For starters, a magnification anywhere between 2.0x and 2.8x is sufficient. These levels are also ideal for dental diagnostic purposes. The loupes with up to 2.8x magnification are called the Galilean model. Aside from being lightweight, the Galilean loupe design also provides users with sufficient width of field, excellent depth of field, and easier adaptability.
If you need a loupe for dental procedures that require higher magnification, you can opt for Keplerian design. This loupe design is regarded as the standard for higher magnification. Its magnification ranges from 3.5x to 6.0x. But unlike the Galilean designs with higher magnification, Keplerian loupes can be heavier and more expensive.
When deciding what magnification to choose, keep in mind that it can directly affect the other factors. Higher magnification loupes tend to have a narrower field of view, smaller focal range, and lower light transmission.
Step 2: Identify Your Working Distance
Surgical loupes are manufactured with preset working distance. Picking the loupe with a working distance that fits you well will allow you to work within certain distance while holding an upright position.
The working distance is the distance between your eyes and the object in focus. To get your working or focal distance, simply stand straight or sit down in an upright position and then measure the distance between the bridge of your nose and the tip of the nose of your imaginary patient or the anterior portion of the mouth of your patient with the use of a tape measure. Most of the manufacturers offer surgical loupes with a working distance that ranges from 11 to 14 inches (identified as short), from 13 to 17 inches (identified as regular), from 15 to 20 inches (identified as long), and from 17 to 20 inches (identified as extra long).
Step 3: Decide Between Flip Up vs TTL
Each of these two types has his own advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to weight, the TTL loupes are generally better than the flip up. When it comes to price, the TTL loupe is slightly more expensive than the flip up. It also has a wider field of view as compared to the latter. The loupe of the TTL is directly and permanently attached to the lens and it cannot be adjusted while the flip-up can be manually adjusted to any angle of declination of your choice.
Although there are other factors that you need to consider when choosing a loupe, these three steps are considered as the most important. You can also decide whether you will buy a surgical loupe with dental headlights or not.