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31 Jul 2017 | Australasian Dental Practice

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SurgiTel loupes offer a unique ergonomic solution for clinicians

The popularity and uptake of surgical loupes amongst clinicians continues to grow, however little consideration has been given to the importance of custom fitting and the ability to adjust your loupes to suit your own individual measurements. Clinicians wearing loupes not customised to their own measurements will not be able to utilise the full benefits of working ergonomically with magnification. This can have a seriously detrimental impact to your working posture and the quality of the dentistry that you provide to your patients.

Too many clinicians have neck pain and believe it is "just part of the job". Not true at all! Pain is a signal from your body something is very wrong! In this case, a signal you are on your way to a potential career ending injury. When clinicians try on SurgiTel ergonomic loupes, they can feel the difference right away. Until this moment, clinicians have assumed their pain came from some other source, such as a sports injury or a bad pillow. Many had paid a lot of money for other prestigious brands which were just not ergonomic. Paying more money does not necessarily equal more ergonomics!

To this day, SurgiTel is the only loupe company in the world providing top quality magnification in fully custom and truly ergonomic loupes.

The three critical factors to consider when selecting your dental loupes are working distance, declination angle and co-axial alignment.

All SurgiTel loupes sold throughout Australia and New Zealand are only manufactured after having obtained individual measurements of each client. Your working distance will be measured and the loupes will be custom manufactured for you. SurgiTel loupes provide greater depth of field and expanded field sizes so you can see more of the work area and work in the most upright ergonomically correct posture.

In addition to this, SurgiTel offers a customisable and steeper declination angle than other loupe manufacturers, a result of their patented and patent pending technology. On the Front Lens Mounted models (FLM), the patented vertical slide and double hinge enable custom alignment to your personal working posture and on Through The Lens (TTL) models, the patented frame tilt allows for better downward vision (an angle of 42.5˚ on the Ergo Max Frame is achievable) and more complete eye protection. No matter what any loupe manufacturer tells you, research shows if you are tilting your head more than 25˚ forward as you work, you're at risk of chronic neck pain and injury. SurgiTel loupes are specifically designed to help clinicians look down while keeping their head up.

Whilst working distance and declination angle have been well researched in the past, much less is known about co-axial alignment. Co-axial alignment refers to the vertical alignment between the magnified image seen through the surgical loupes and the observed object. In other words, when a clinician looks through the magnification lenses of the surgical loupes, the magnified image seen through the surgical loupes should be in alignment with the actual object being looked at (Figure 1, left panel).

SurgiTel FLM loupes have a double adjustment mount that allows for your loupes to also be adjusted vertically. The vertical slide provides precise visual alignment and means that co-axial misalignment does not occur amongst SurgiTel loupe users. Working with co-axially misaligned surgical loupes imposes a variety of ergonomic risks and challenges on an operating clinician. Clinicians working with misaligned surgical loupes can become disoriented as to the exact spatial location of the intended surgical site. The constant hand movement needed to compensate for the visual discrepancy also increases the potential for losing control of instruments and, thus, can compromise quality of care delivered, imposing a risk to patient safety.

Affected clinicians may need to constantly move their necks or hands "up and down" in an attempt to visually locate or correctly align their surgical instruments with their magnified image prior to starting any procedure. Studies show that repetitive motions are one of the major contributors to musculoskeletal disorders among medical and dental professionals. Therefore, the repeated movement of a clinician's neck and hands can lead to repetitive strain injuries of the neck, shoulder, upper arm and wrist. Constantly "craning" the neck or "twisting" the head (possibly many times a day over extended periods of clinical practice) is likely to aggravate existing symptoms for operating clinicians who already suffer from pain in the neck and shoulder area. Working with pain and chronic injuries can also lead to loss of work and loss of income, to increased mental stress, and can negatively impact the overall quality of life for affected clinicians.

SurgiTel offers a large range of magnification options from 2.5x to 8.0x. Many clinicians often hope we can simply tell them the "right" magnification. The reason we carry such a large range of magnifications, however, is so each clinician can find the right magnification for them. The required magnification power to see certain detail varies according to the clinician's working distance.

For example, imagine viewing a target at 15 inches and then at 19 inches. At 15 inches the target will appear larger and we can perceive more detail. At 19 inches the target is further away, so it will appear smaller and we will perceive less detail. The same effect applies to all magnification levels. We perceive the target at 15 inches to be 36% larger than at 19 inches. This is called the working distance effect. It is very important to consider your working distance when choosing a magnification. You will find many loupe companies throughout Australia and New Zealand reselling non-custom, imported 2.5x loupes. In some cases practitioners are being told by these companies that nothing over 2.5x is necessary. When these practitioners try on our SurgiTel loupes and find magnifications such as 3.5x and 4.5x can be lightweight, easy to use and provide a far superior image they are both surprised and very impressed.

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