ErgoPractice News logo

Should You Use the Same Loupes as Your Associate?

ErgoPractice News – March 2016
By Jin Chang PhD

Why the Best Vision & Ergonomics Relies on Custom Loupe Choices

We all consider recommendations when purchasing products. From online reviews to the opinions of our friends and family. When it comes to the tools we work with, our associates’ opinions and experiences in particular can be invaluable!

But when asking your associates about their loupes, please recognize that these products need to be custom for you and your work. I know this involves more work then just asking for the same, but I implore you to do so! I have heard from many frustrated people who ordered the same thing their friend has, but it didn’t work the same for them. Below we explore several reasons why loupes and lights are not one-size-fits-all.

Different Frames for a Different Face: Even drug store sunglasses are not all right for all faces. Our ears, noses and cheeks are all different. Adding loupe oculars to the mix only makes things more complicated! Oculars should sit below your eyes at an ergonomic angle, which could be limited by the lens height chosen. Unless your associate is your identical twin, please take time to try on several frame options when purchasing loupes.

Working Distance and Magnification Needs: As you can see in the graph on this page, the longer the working distance, the more magnification is needed to see the same level of detail. Imagine a person who is 5’ 2” and a person who is 6’ 2” both standing at a table. The shorter person will see every object on that table in greater detail due to the “natural magnification” of just being closer.

In the same way, imagine your associate recommends a 4.0x power loupe because at their 14” working distance they can see something which is 25 μm. If you are working at 22” and order the same thing, you would be quite disappointed to find you can see less than 2/3 of what they can! You would need 6.5x loupes to see what they see. Not fair, I know, but an important thing to keep in mind.

Work and Work Style: Is there anything about your work which is different from your associates’ work? Different procedures may require entirely different magnifications and loupe angles.

Where You Work: The area in which you work can impact how far away you are from your target. As explained earlier, this could change the magnification you need. Another issue is ambient lighting where you work. What light is coming into the room from windows, hallways, room lighting, and unnecessary overhead lights? Do you have the option to minimize it? If so, you can use a lighter-weight headlight which won’t have to compete with too much light pollution. If you work in an area where you cannot reduce high ambient lighting, may need a different type of headlight to overcome light pollution. In short, your associate may recommend a light source based on where they work, which may be inadequate for where you work!

While you should take your associates’ experiences into consideration, I always recommend you prioritize your loupe choices based on you and your work. With all the best intentions, you may inadvertently limit your loupe and light performance. For the best fit for you and your work, consider checking in with your local SurgiTel Representative. When they visit your working environment, they might make some recommendations which could revolutionize the way you work!