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Experience the Benefits of Higher Power Loupes for Your Procedures

ErgoPractice News – April 2016
By Jin Chang PhD

It’s time to stop making excuses about why you can’t, and begin to find out how you can learn higher power loupes!

More than a half-century ago, loupes with about 2.5x magnification were introduced to the practice of surgery and dentistry. Since then higher power loupes (3.5x to 8.0x) were developed to help clinicians perform more precision procedures. Many clinicians have made a successful transition from low-power loupes (2.5x or 3.0x) to high-power loupes (3.5x to 8.0x) and enjoyed the benefits of higher power loupes. However, many still fall back on excuses why they can’t use high-power loupes even without having tried them.

“Increasing magnification limits my depth of field and field of view. I can’t work that way”

It is completely true the inherent trade-off of an increased magnification power is a decrease in field. But the field size of 3.5x prism loupes is similar to that of 2.5x Galilean loupes and significantly larger than the 3.0x Galilean loupes.

Even if you believe that you are doing fine with your current low power loupes, you may try higher power loupes and I believe you will quickly notice the benefits. I have seen many clinicians try on loupes at a trade show. Most quickly recognize the benefits, but some balk when they see something different than what they are used to.

In this case I would like to ask you what you can see. If you can see your entire target field, then you get the benefits of increased power with no functional loss! Modern SurgiTel 2.5x loupes almost always have fields far larger than your actual target area. In most cases, the clinician will only see more detail – not less of their actual target.

“I can’t use loupes that are that strong. I’ve tried them on before.”

If you have tried on a pair of loupes at a trade show, or tried on a pair belonging to an associate, it is no wonder you had a hard time seeing through them. Loupes are very custom products and unless the person they were built for is your twin, they may not work for you. In fact, the higher the magnification the more important customization is for the best vision.

If you are having trouble seeing through a pair of demonstration Through-The-Lens (TTL) loupes, ask the sales person for an adjustable/customizable, Front-Lens-Mounted (FLM) version to try.

“I’ve seen them. They seem too heavy, bulky.”

Higher magnification loupes will be heavier than lower magnification loupes, but advanced higher power loupes are lighter than traditional low power loupes. Around the world many clinicians are using loupes up to 8.0x daily. Updated technology in retainer straps, nose pad designs, weight balance, and ergonomic angles can all impact how the weight is distributed.

When trying on a pair of high magnification loupes, ask the sales person what they recommend to balance the weight. Try them on for more than a few minutes, you might be surprised how quickly the weight becomes normal. As humans we are all excellent at adapting!

“They’re too expensive.”

Some use this excuse to avoid trying loupes at all. Before you get sticker shock, first think about what is the value in seeing more, working faster, and achieving better outcomes every day for the rest of your career.

“My colleague uses 2.5x too.”

The implication here is that if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me. But what about better?

I spoke to a student who chose 4.5x loupes to start with, while all his peers chose 2.5x. He required a greater learning time than average but he worked through it. His work quickly stood far above his peers and they would jokingly accuse him of “cheating” with his loupes. In a student environment, it is much easier to be ‘part of the team’ than to stand out. But he had a lot invested in his education and made the effort to meet that serious investment with a serious dedication. How much have you invested in your career? Should you just replicate your colleagues, or does your investment demand more?

“I’ve been using this for a long time and the 2.5x are fine. I don’t need to upgrade.”

Doing fine is fine, but then again – what about better? If you want your work to be fine, and deliver outcomes that are fine, and have your career go fine, then by all means. But if you consider your career a journey, where things need to change and evolve and grow, you may consider upgrading your loupes. You may actually decide against it, but I urge those using lower magnification to explore the option of higher magnification!

Let’s think about the rotary telephone. It was fine. It did the job. Are you just going to “do the job”?

Final Thoughts

Many of the “reasons” above may be excuses, not reasons. We use excuses to avoid being unconventional, to change, to invest, to learn yet another new thing, or to see errors in work from before. I understand – because none of these things are easy!

Whatever you choose to do, even if that is to downgrade your loupes or do something completely different, I urge you to do what is right for you. Do not let others, tradition, or a supposed “conventional wisdom” determine what is best for you.

When our customers ask about an upgrade that we feel will truly not benefit them, we have advised them not to upgrade. We want every single purchase to benefit our customers as the reputation of the company depends on it. But because of the number of clinicians still using the 2.5x which was considered “standard” many years ago, I have a strong feeling that under-performance is more common than over-performance.

As more people want to work with better ergonomic posture, the average working distance has been increasing. This means we see less detail of our target as we are farther away. We can see better by simply getting closer to our targets, but if we want to maintain healthy working postures we have to maintain a good working distance. Working distance is unique to each person. To see what we used to see in a slouch, we need a higher magnification to see the same level of detail in an ergonomic posture. Note: People who work with longer working distances will need higher magnification loupes than people whose working distances are short.

If you haven’t upgraded your magnification, please consider contacting your local representative and try out a loupe which could change the rest of your career!