Magnification in Dentistry: The Evolution

How magnification loupes are viewed in today’s world is dramatically different than it was decades ago. Years ago, only a handful of dentists used magnification on a regular basis and the first time I ever encountered a hygienist using magnification was 1996.

In the early days, frames were heavy, frame styles were limited, and most loupes were designed for medium or large heads. Back then, optics were not particularly crisp or clear. Most of us thought that loupes were for the old guys, those with deteriorating vision. Little did we know about all the benefits: healthier postures, improved diagnostics, and better clinical outcomes for the patient.

Today, magnification loupes are considered standard. Those who have graduated in the last ten years can’t imagine practicing without loupes. However, some still consider loupes a luxury, and others feel that magnification is not important until there are physical changes in visual acuity.

Improve your physical well being

When I chose my first pair of loupes in 1996, people laughed, but I did not care. The wise words my colleague had spoken to me at the AAP meeting resonated with me. Within days of wearing loupes and seating in a more ergonomic position, the muscles in my back, neck, and shoulder muscles quit screaming. I was finally able to sleep through the night instead of tossing and turning in pain.

Start with the right frame for your face

Years ago, little thought was given to frames. It is now clear frame selection is critical.

Along with selecting the correct frame size, a frame that offers adjustable nose pads or flexible temple arms can ensure an ideal fit. An adjustable frame allows a clinician to customize the temple arms to suit their facial geometry. This type of adjustment ensures the user looks through the optical center of both telescopes for the most accurate view. Nose Pads should be conformed to one’s nose bridge to balance the frame properly. The pads can also be flared back to create more distance from the loupe to the tips of the eyelashes.

The importance of declination angle

More and more clinicians are seeking loupes that offer a steep declination angle to diminish neck flexion and reduce forward head posture. People with deep set eyes or high cheekbones require a steeper angle than those with prominent eyes or average cheek bone height. A frame with a carrier lens that is tall from top to bottom can accommodate steeper angles. Orascoptic has three frames specifically designed to meet these needs: Tempo, Tempo Refined Fit, and ErgoEdge.


How to choose the right magnification level

Ocular strength is a personal preference. Some clinicians like working with a 2.5x while others like to use a higher strength. In the past, if a clinician wanted to use more than one magnification strength, they had to have multiple pairs of loupes. Orascoptic’s EyeZoom technology solved that problem. The EyeZoom telescopes allow a clinician to adjust the setting within the oculars, giving users more than one magnification option. The original EyeZoom optics have three settings ranging from 3x to 5x. The EyeZoom Mini is built using a 2.5x and 3.5x system.


Consider a Spare Pair

A decade ago, most were content with having one pair of loupes, but now there is growing interest in getting a second pair. This is an emerging trend, especially within the dental hygiene community. Clinicians simply do not want to work without their loupes. Many are now opting to get a new pair, with new features, often including an increase in ocular strength. Having a backup pair is smart. This plan keeps clinicians from hitting the panic button when their loupes need a repair or a prescription change.

As an early adopter, it is rewarding to see more and more dental professionals not only using magnification, but exploring new products designed to improve workplace safety and enhance clinical care.

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