Purchasing your first pair of loupes can be so exciting! Using loupes means you’re legit, right?! But, you may also be faced with the daunting cost and numerous questions. When should you purchase loupes? Which features are must haves? And, what magnification is best?
When should you purchase loupes?
You should be comfortable with your loupes in time for your first operative practical. So, you should have them in-hand roughly two weeks prior to your first operative practical. Why this benchmark? Because your professors will use their loupes to grade you! You should be analyzing your work at the same level of magnification that it’s being graded at (see my Quick Guide for Success: Operative). Remember, it may take nearly a month to receive your loupes once ordered. Ask your rep for more information on lead times.
What features are must haves?
Side Shields: When I selected my loupes, I overlooked the fact that they would require adding disposable side shields for adequate peripheral protection. Frankly, side shields are a pain in the butt to take on and off and ugly! If I could do it all over again, I would select a design that incorporates peripheral coverage.
Expanded Field of Vision: Typically, as you increase the magnification of your loupes, the field of vision narrows. An expanded field of view allows you to obtain high magnification with a wider field of view. As a dental student, it is important to have a wide field of view for situational awareness, preventing knicks, etc.
Customer Service: Customer service is a must-have feature! I broke my loupes the week before my board licensure exam! Needless to say, I was panicked! However, I sent an iPhone image of the broken piece to my rep, and Designs for Vision sent me two replacement pieces overnight!
What magnification should I get?
I purchased 3.5 magnification and absolutely love it! I am 100% certain I made the right choice!
What about a headlight?
I purchased the Designs for Vision LED Daylight Nano as part of a packaged student discount. I chose a hard-wired headlight because the wireless lights just don’t seem to have a long enough battery life. I think it’s a design challenge to balance weight versus battery life. A heavier headlight can become irritating over time. Some of my classmates prefer LumaDent lights. I would recommend checking them out!
Which loupes do you have? Do you love them? Comment below!