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Clinical Safety and Eye Protection

ErgoPractice News – March 2018
By Jin Chang PhD

Modern clinicians are exposed to various physical risks, from posture-related pains and injuries due to the use of improperly designed and fitted loupes, to retinal damages by various radiations used for clinical procedures. These radiations include lasers, X-rays, blue dental curing lights, and LED headlights with unbalanced blue spectrums.1 The use of any of these products without protection can result in permanent damage to the eyes.

Today clinicians recognize the need to protect their eyes from dangerous radiations such as X-rays, lasers, and even dental curing lights. However, we often forget that many LED headlights on the market can be equally damaging to our eyes!1, 2

SurgiTel has developed custom-fit, ergonomic loupes based on several patented concepts which can prevent chronic neck and back pains and injuries, and various eye protection filters which can be used with loupes. In this issue, we will review various eye protection designs.

Protection from Lasers and X-rays

Eye protection goggles are readily available for patients, but they are not loupe-compatible. So we designed loupe-compatible filters and eyeglasses.

When designing protection filters and eyeglasses for lasers and X-rays, SurgiTel’s design requirements were to block the transmission of damaging radiations for the best safety while maximizing the transmission of other visible lights to produce the best image.2 It was also important that clinicians were able to use the same pair of loupes for laser or X-ray protection as they use for their regular procedures, without compromising image or ergonomic quality. Although several companies offer dedicated protection loupes, non-removable filters distort the color of objects and are not desirable for use in other procedures.2

To address these issues, SurgiTel developed various types of protection filters.2

Laser protection in the form of drop-in filters or built-in protection eyeglass lenses: Both drop-in filters and built-in eyeglass lenses can be used with both Front-Lens-Mounted (FLM) and Through-The-Lens (TTL) loupes (Figure 1).

X-ray protection in the form of built-in eyeglass lenses: These clear X-ray protection eyeglass lenses (Figure 2) can have a prescription and be used with FLM loupes. Drop-in X-ray filters can be made, but they may not be practical because they are thick and heavy.

Next Generation LED Headlights

Although not all clinicians will find themselves in need of X-ray and laser protection, many will require an LED headlight. While readily available, most LED lights on the market may not be designed to provide users with the best eye safety as well as the best color accuracy.

Most LED headlights use cool LED lights and simple beam-forming lenses. These LED lights give the sensation of brightness because they have a strong blue tint to their beam colors.3 White LED lights consist of a blue spectral band and green/red spectral band. The blue spectral band and the green/red spectral band of cool LED lights are not properly balanced, resulting in a strong spike in intensity in the blue spectral band (Figure 3).4 The human eye is extremely insensitive to blue light and cannot appropriately protect itself, allowing blue lights to easily reach the retina.5 Research indicates that long-term exposure to these “extreme blue” LEDs can lead to early-onset macular degeneration, photokeratitis (cornea burns), and retinal cell damage.3

To address this issue, SurgiTel LED headlights all feature a patented multi-lens system that generates an achromatic beam.6 LEDs with this design overlap wavelengths so there is no separated blue light, minimizing the risk that occurs with extended use of other clinical LEDs (Figure 3). SurgiTel LEDs have the lowest level of blue light,5 making them the safest LED headlights available for dental and medical professionals.

While an achromatic beam is integral for eye safety, it also contributes to the quality of the LED beam (Figure 4). Other LEDs typically use a single-lens system that separates the blue and green/red spectral bands, resulting in hot spots, faded edges, and glare.5 All SurgiTel LEDs form a consistent beam pattern, even as working distance changes. This clear, even light spot makes it easier to perceive details throughout the entire beam area.

We also know that color accuracy is a key feature of LED headlights. Because an achromatic beam is perfectly mixed, there are no substantial peaks in color that mask the true color of objects (Figure 4). For example, LEDs with high blue peaks wash out details, making them look whiter than they really are. SurgiTel has worked to make our neutral headlight as close to sunlight as possible, which is particularly helpful for cosmetic work.

Vision and Ergonomics at Work

Protecting your eyesight is critical to seeing better and working safer. Discover how SurgiTel’s eye-protection products can help your practice.

For more information, or to try in person, contact your local representative at



  1. The Blue Light Hazard in Medicine and Dentistry. YouTube. Price Lab, 2012.
  2. Chang, Jin. “Laser Protection Options for Loupes.” SurgiTel. ErgoPractice News, October 2016.
  3. Chang, Jin. “Is My LED Headlight Safe? The Blue Light Hazard.” SurgiTel. ErgoPractice News, October 2015.
  4. “Is Your LED Headlamp Damaging Your Eyes?” Gordon J. Christensen Clinicians Report. CR Foundation, March 2013.
  5. Chang, Jin. “Advances in SurgiTel Headlights: Design Considerations of LED Headlights for Color Accuracy and Eye Safety.” SurgiTel. ErgoPractice News, March 30, 2014.
  6. Chang, Jin. “NEW Wireless LED Technology: SurgiTel Wireless Air.” SurgiTel. ErgoPractice News, February 2018.