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30 Nov 2018 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Are your loupes ergonomically designed to improve your working posture?

Buying a new pair of loupes is an investment in your health that should be taken seriously as you don't want to spend thousands of dollars on loupes only to have them sit in the drawer or not significantly reduce the amount of back and neck pain that you are experiencing.

Declination angle is regarded as one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing loupes. Nowadays, more clinicians are informed about how poor working posture leads to pain and injury. Up to 92.3% of surgeons report work-related pain and about 20% eventually resort to surgery for treatment. Ergonomically designed loupes play a huge role in reducing back and neck pain and today are designed not only to help you see better but also with a strong emphasis on improving the ergonomics of clinicians. SurgiTel is one of the only loupe manufacturers that create ergonomic loupes designed to improve your health.

Some clinicians self-diagnose their neck pain and attribute it to a sports injury or an auto accident or even a bad pillow. No wonder 20% of surgeons who report neck pain are resorting to surgery for treatment - working posture was not even considered as a cause for their neck pain.

If loupes force someone to tilt their head more than 20 degrees forward, they are not ergonomically designed for a safe and comfortable posture. The strain of supporting the head in this position adds up to cause chronic neck pain and injury.

To stay within a safe head posture requires a loupe with a steep declination angle from 40-50 degrees. Vertically adjustable front lens mounted loupes are the only loupes available today to keep clinicians within this safe head posture. SurgiTel holds a patent on their ergonomically designed loupes which includes a vertical and horizontal adjustment on front-lens-mounted loupes. This double adjustment allows you to precisely align your FLM loupes, improving both your neck posture and visual image.

There are several non-ergonomic FLM loupes on the market that are not vertically adjustable, which will cause the same poor postures as seen with most other brands of Through-The-Lens loupes.

Having oculars that are low set, exceptionally small and with high declination allows full peripheral vision to be maintained when regular non-magnified vision is required, thus removing the need to flip up in the old fashioned way, avoiding associated infection control issues generated by touching the loupes when in use. In the past, FLM loupes have been much heavier than Through-the-Lens designs. Today, this is not an issue thanks to SurgiTel's latest micro designs offering the lightest loupes in clinical magnification.

Not only do SurgiTel's FLM loupes provide significant ergonomic benefits over competitor loupes, their new Ergo Max frame allows for a declination angle of up to 42.5 degrees in a through the lens design. This frame offers a unique lens design which supports an extreme declination angle for a truly custom, ergonomic fit, alleviating chronic back and neck pain. This maximum declination angle is much steeper than previously achievable by any loupe manufacturer in a through the lens design.

If your head tilt angle is significantly larger than 20 degrees with your current loupes, you may have been experiencing pain or strain in your neck, shoulders and upper back. If so, you should consider a new loupe built with your optimum declination angle.

The question to ask is: Can chronic pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back be eliminated by switching to loupes with your optimum declination angle? The answer is in most cases "yes". However, working non-ergonomically with a non-ergonomic loupe for too long could cause enough injury to require surgery. At this point, ergonomic loupes may only alleviate pain. Never let non-ergonomic loupes take you this far!

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