Amanda Hill, BSDH, RDH, shares her experience with an innovative loupes design that allows her to sit completely upright, reducing occupational strain on her body, while getting a great view of the patient's mouth.
One irony of many for me this year was when my new ErgoPrism loupes by Lumadent arrived one week after dentistry shut down. My husband did get a splinter in April, and I ran straight to my new loupes to save the day! But I was still longing for the actual clinical experience. When I finally returned to the op, I immediately strapped on my new loupes to see how this cutting-edge technology would work in dental hygiene. I was a little skeptical. The ErgoPrism loupes are not your traditional loupes; the lenses work like a microscope, so you sit upright but can see below you—think periscope on a submarine but the other way around.
My last dentist had a mounted microscope I used once. It showed an amazingly detailed view of about two teeth, so I thought that there wa no way that kind of technology could work for hygiene. But I also knew that it was saving his back and neck, and after 20-plus years, I needed some relief. Well, I’m happy to say my skepticism was way off base!
The ErgoPrism Loupes are designed to not only expand your field of view but to improve ergonomics and reduce eye strain. They do take a hot minute to get used to, but by day two, I had them on for the whole day and haven’t reached for my old loupes again. The microscope design has you sitting straight up, not leaning your head forward or flexing your neck, so I immediately felt less strain on my neck and upper back. It was easier to keep my arms closer to my body and ditch my infamous “chicken wing.” Just like when I switched from a traditional to a saddle chair, I was forced to give up some bad habits, but beyond blessed with less pain and strain on my body. With these loupes, you aren’t craning your neck to get that direct view of no. 3 lingual; indirect vision becomes your friend.
My coworkers were all confused. In fact, my cohygienist thought I was just working by feeling and not even looking in the patient’s mouth when I was scaling! But my straight posture and forward-facing head were indeed getting a crystal-clear view. I did explain this to the first few patients, worried they would think the same thing, but they didn’t seem concerned. And I have to tell you, I felt great.
An unexpected perk is how well these loupes work with face shields. I’ve heard many clinicians complain that their shield hits their chest when they lean their head forward with traditional loupes. With my forward-facing posture, this hasn’t been an issue. I’ve been using the LumaShield shield with the magnetic light mount that places my headlight outside my shield for easy adjusting and helps protect me from droplets and spatter without getting in the way. The increased working distance that the ErgoPrism Loupes provides is another infection control plus.
Over the years, loupes haven’t changed all that much; this is a significant innovation. I can genuinely see the ErgoPrism Loupes saving backs and necks, thereby careers everywhere.