How do I measure the working distance for my Loupes?
As seen on the image to the left, the working distance is measured through your line of sight from your eyes to the point of focus (ie. the Patient's mouth). It is very important to note that working distances are measured from your eyes, not from the dental loupes themselves as this will cause many changes in the distance you choose.
You can easily measure your own working distance by yourself. Simple grab a measuring tape and hold it on the side of your head where the front of your eyes are and measure to the hypothetical location of where you would normally have our patient's head in a clinical situation.
For general dentistry and oral hygiene work, it is generally accepted that the 2.5x magnification is appropriate for simple restorative and periodontal procedures (eg. scaling/exam).
Binocular Dental Loupes offering 3.5x magnification are generally more accepted for more complex procedures requiring finer details such as endodontics and surgery.
Most companies also offer Surgical Loupes at 3.0x magnification. However, it is worth noting the difference between 2.5x and 3.0x is quite minimal. It is not until you reach 3.5x that you begin to experience the true difference in magnification. It is worth also noting that as magnification increases, your field of view will also decrease.
Some loupes may also be offered in higher magnifications such as 4.0x - 6.0x and these are designed for specialists/surgeons performing certain procedures requiring this level of magnification.
What is the Field Of View of my Dental Loupes?
As you would imagine, the field of view is the area you see. Ideally, the larger the field of view, the better it is. The catch is, as mentioned earlier, as magnification increases, your field of view will inevitable be reduced.
What does this mean? Essentially, with higher magnification Surgical Loupes, you will see MORE of each tooth, but will see LESS teeth in total. It is a compromise and a factor in deciding which magnification you would like to choose. Different cultures will lean towards different styles in purchasing loupes. For example, in the US, it is becoming increasingly common that students simply buy 3.5x magnification from the start since they will "end up upgrading to the 3.5x anyway". Whereas in Australia, most students and professionals will tend to stick with the 2.5x and 3.0x magnification not feeling that 3.5x is justified or required.