Loopy about my Loupes: Review of Optiloupes

It's been a while since my last post and I've had a bit of a break from dentistry before I start my DCT post next week. But as promised, here is the review of the new Loupes I got through in July!

My OptiLoupe through the lens titanium Loupes, magnficiation x3 with mounted illumination

Do I really need Loupes?

Every young dentist has probably had the Loupe chat with someone but are they really that essential when practising dentistry or is it just another expensive cost we have to add to our other gadgets? 

As an undergraduate, I never had the chance to work under magnification unless I was on the endo clinic (and even then I only used the microscope twice). I've managed crown preps, endos, cavity preps perfectly well before without magnification so are Loupes just for those who are short sighted?

There are 2 massive advantages to using Loupes in your day to day life as a dentist:
  1. Improves your posture to prevent back pain, a major problem for a lot of dentists
  2. Improves the quality of your dentistry as you can see much more with magnification (seems obvious!)

What magnification should I go for?

Magnification varies from x 2.5-x 6

I have been recommended to start off at a low magnification so that the learning curve is less steep when using them: x 2.5 -x 3, I chose to buy x 3 so that I got good amount of magnification that I could get used to using without getting headaches. 

What is the Field of View and Depth of Field?

Field of view is how much you can see through your Loupes - a good FoV in low magnification Loupes is around 10cm.

Depth of Field is the depth distance that is focused through the Loupes - this is related to the working distance. 

Bear in mind that with increased magnification, the DoF and FoV decrease and therefore the Loupes are more difficult to get adjusted to using. 

How do I assess the quality of my Loupes?

You should look for 3 qualities when testing out Loupes:
  1. Resolution - how defined is the image?
  2. Chromatic aberration - has the colour of the image changed?
  3. Spherical aberration -  has the image been distorted?
A good tip that Reena Wadia gave in her tips for young dentists (see a summary of her talk here), is to look at a ruler through the Loupes to make sure the lines on the ruler are straight, clear and the same colour. 

My Loupes

I ordered my Loupes at the BDA conference in May (see my post about the conference here) and it did take about 10 weeks for them to be delivered to me but apparently this was due to having a huge amount of orders from the conference to deal with!

As I've said before, I chose x 3 magnification, through-the-lens titanium frames. I chose through-the-lens as I found the flip down Loupes bulky and heavy.  And of course, I also invested in a light as what's the point in getting a high magnification and not being able to see in the dark!?

The question most of you will probably be thinking is how much are they? Loupe prices can vary massively from a few hundreds to a few thousands. Buying Loupes at a conference supposedly gets you a discount off the normal rate, but I also got another £200 off that price for being a DF1 and also because there was 3 of us who were buying them - so altogether my Loupes plus the light came to £900.

Not cheap but definitely worth it. After working with them for 2 weeks I must say that I don't know how I did some dentistry without them before. The first root canal I did when I had my Loupes was so much easier! Being able to see where you are putting your files instead of poking around blindly not only speeds up the procedure, but it makes it much less stressful and more enjoyable! 

I found adjusting to the magnification surprisingly easy, only poking my first patient a couple of times when bringing instruments in and out of my field of vision (luckily he was a dental nurse who I had told I had not used my Loupes before!). I haven't experienced any headaches using them even though I had to switch to putting my contact lenses in instead of wearing my glasses - I didn't bother getting my prescription in my Loupes as my prescription has changed quite a bit recently. 

So if you are thinking about investing in yourself definitely buy some Loupes! If you are at a conference or have a rep coming round to your practice here are some questions you should ask before you buy your set!
  • What's the magnification/FoV/DoF?
  • Flip ups vs. through-the-lens
  • How long are they guaranteed for? (I have a life time guarantee for mine)
  • How long is the battery life for the light and how long does it take to charge?
  • Can I put my prescription in the lens?
  • Is there a cooling off period?
  • Can I pay in instalments?
  • What if they need adjusting?

I hope this helps when it comes to buying your own set of Loupes. Please leave your experience of Loupes or any questions in the section below!

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