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For years I’ve used the same heavy loupes. But with each increase in magnification and with the addition of a light, the frames got heavier, eventually to the point of hurting my nose. Having an athletic and aviation background, I’ve become accustomed to lightweight, comfortable glasses, and I decided I shouldn’t have to wear heavy, uncomfortable “Buddy Holly” loupes while at work.
For years I’ve used the same heavy loupes. But with each increase in magnification and with the addition of a light, the frames got heavier, eventually to the point of hurting my nose. Having an athletic and aviation background, I’ve become accustomed to lightweight, comfortable glasses, and I decided I shouldn’t have to wear heavy, uncomfortable “Buddy Holly” loupes while at work. There are many alternatives, and after some research, I chose Orascoptic Rudy Project® Rydon wrap-around frames with HiRes Plus® 3.5 adjustable telescopes and a Zeon Discovery® light.
These frames look and feel great. They are lightweight and comfortable, much like cycling glasses. The semi-rim framework design makes the field of view outside the telescopes very good. The earpieces are flexible, and I tried several configurations before I finally settled on a comfortable combination of earpiece and nosepiece positions.
The HiRes 3.5 magnification telescopes are crisp and clear and provide a good field of vision. Because they are adjustable, the user can fine-tune the focus for any situation. This characteristic allows a much more variable working distance than static telescopes, but they can be turned out of focus inadvertently, so I recommend marking your favorite adjustments with a paint marker.
The Zeon Discovery® LED headlight has some nice characteristics: the light is bright and steady, and it features a hinged cure-shield that can be flipped up and down easily. There are three brightness settings, which makes adjusting simple. The cord has a four-year warranty and slips straight into the battery pack via a sturdy round connector, making it easy to attach and remove. The battery pack is on a 360° rotating belt clip, and it has a one-year warranty, as does the charger. The battery lasts several hours on a charge, and it is “constant current” so the light output doesn’t fade over time. There is a warning light on the top of the pack that is designed to flash when the battery is low, although I’ve never noticed it flashing before the light has gone out. Kerr offers a limited lifetime warranty on all oculars and flip-up hinges, and a three-year limited warranty on frames, headbands, carrier lenses and adhesives.
A few drawbacks
No piece of dental equipment is perfect, and one drawback is the plastic frames are not as rigid as metal or carbon fiber, so when any pressure is put on the frame, the shape distorts. Even the slightest frame flexion is magnified many times through the 3.5 telescopes, which then lose focus and must be readjusted.
Also, the headlight cord placement on these particular frames seems to be an afterthought. A small elastic band snaps around the frame to retain the cord to the earpiece, but mine came unsnapped and was lost almost immediately, so I ended up taping the cord to the earpiece.
Overall, these loupes have some great features: they’re lightweight, comfortable, adjustable and look great. The LED light is bright, sharp and easy to use. The main drawback is that the Rudy Project® Rydon plastic frames are flexible and therefore are not ideal for use with high magnification through-the-lens telescopes and a headlight. While these loupes are infinitely adjustable, they are sensitive to pressure and movement, so if you remove them often, you must adjust them often. Once adjusted, they work well for long, uninterrupted procedures.
You have plenty of options
So if you’re considering replacing your ancient “Buddy Holly” loupes with something lighter and brighter, research all the frames, telescopes and lights out there. With a large variety of choices available, you should easily find something that works for you. Just remember that anything new will take some getting used to.
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The Benchmark column is written by the directors of the Atlanta Center for Dental Excellence, an alliance of practicing clinicians dedicated to progress in dentistry. The ACDE advises dental companies on product development and marketing, and provides PACE-approved high-level continuing education. To learn more, visit theacde.com, or contact Molly Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Scott Bridges, DMD, is Director of Practice Development for the ACDE. He is a student of the Kois Center and the Homoly Communications Institute, and has achieved Diplomate status in the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. He is a moderator for the Restorative Dentistry and Sedation boards on Dentaltown.com, and he lectures and writes on a wide range of dental topics. Dr. Bridges practices in Paducah, Ky., performing IV and oral sedation dentistry.