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Once asked which magnification power to choose, some surgical loupes manufacturers will recommend the highest available. Contrary to common belief, the surgical loupes with the highest magnification power are not always the best.
Each of the surgical procedures requires an appropriate level of magnification. Higher magnification provides you with some advantages like it produces a more enlarged image of the operating region, making it easier for you to operate with utmost precision. However, it also offers many disadvantages.
Disadvantages of higher magnification
- The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view will be.
- As you increase the magnification power, the other factors including the depth sharpness, free working distance, and luminous intensity decrease and become smaller.
- Although higher magnification allows you to focus more on the operating field, you can not directly and instantly perform visual monitoring of your patient and the surrounding areas of the operating field with your dental loupes on.
- Working with wrong, high magnification loupes and focusing on an incessant near-accommodation for hours can be stressful for the eyes and can result in fatigue-poor work.
- Changing your eyes' visual between the normal and magnified field of view can be really challenging. Many surgeons experience a headache and eye strain when adjusting their sight from normal view to highly magnified view and vice versa.
- Using optical loupes with maximum possible enlargement for surgical procedures that do not require this much magnification power can not only affect your posture while operating but also your productivity and overall performance as well.
Which magnification should you choose?
Determining the right magnification level can be both subjective and objective. Subjective factors can be based on your personal needs and preferences like the quality of optics and frames, design, weight, color, comfort, and price range. Objective factors can be based on the set guidelines appropriate for every surgical procedure with the consideration of the different reference points like the working distance, field of view, angle of declination, depth of field, and interpupillary distance.
Below are the recommended levels of magnification for every surgical field.
- Cardiac Surgery- 3.0x - 3.5x
- General Surgery - 2.0x - 3.2x
- Maxillo-Facial Surgery - 3.0x - 3.5x
- Neuro Surgery - 2.5x - 3.5x
- Ophthalmology - 2.5x - 3.5x
- Orthopaedics - 2.5x - 3.5x
- Plastic Surgery - 3.0x - 3.5x
- Tendon or Nerve Surgery - 4.0x - 5.5x
- Urology - 2.5x - 3.5x
Take home note:
There is a big difference between the optimal relevant enlargement and the maximum possible magnification. When selecting a surgical optical loupe, always remember to choose the one with a magnification power that is appropriate for the procedure you will perform. You cannot just pick the highest available magnification without considering the other factors.
The best dental magnifying loupes provide you with the optimal relevant magnification, optimal function, and ergonomics. Choose the loupe that allows you to work within your work distance and operate comfortably in an upright and healthy position or posture.