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How to choose a magnification system (Part 2)- Dr. Ridhima Uppal


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Simple, easy to understand article to help beginners choose the right magnification system. (Photo: Dr. Ridhima Uppal)
Dr. Ridhima Uppal

By Dr. Ridhima Uppal

Fri. 19 November 2021


The second part of the series gives simple guidelines to beginners on how to choose a magnification system.

As discussed in part-1 of this series, two types of magnification systems exist

a) Magnifying Surgical Loupes (Figure 1a)
b) Dental Operating Microscope (Figure 1b)

The magnification systems work upon four specifications:

  1. Magnification Strength- 2.5x, 3.5x, 4x, 5.4x, 10x...
  2. Working Distance-Distance between the lens and the patient.
  3. Field of  View- The area in focus.
  4. Depth of  Field- How far, above and below the sample plane the objective lens and the specimen can be while remaining in perfect focus.

The selection process of the magnification tool should be carried out correctly towards achieving the maximum benefits of magnified vision and improved ergonomics.

This article pens down the key features to keep in mind during the decision-making process.


Loupes work with the eyes to create what the user perceives (Galilean Optics).

The clarity of the image dictated by loupes is directly proportional to the loupes' resolution.

1. Magnification level and Working Distance

  1. The right magnification strength provides an optimal working distance, leading to an ergonomic balance (Figure 2a and 2b).
  2. 2.5x - 3.5x is appropriate for most microsurgical procedures.
  3. For intricate procedures, higher magnification levels provided by the microscope are more helpful.
  4. The lowest magnification settings allow a wide field of view.

Anyone who is a beginner should go with the lowest possible magnification.


2. Weight

Lightweight loupes are more comfortable. Clinicians should carefully test the frames; the weight of the loupes should distribute evenly around the bridge of the nose and ears.

3. Design

There are two key designs:

  1. Through the lens (TTL) loupes (Figure 3a)- With optics inbuilt into the lens of the frame. These are prescription, customized loupes.
  2. Flip-Up loupes ( Figure 3b)- With the adjustable mechanism of optics. These are non-prescription, easily adjustable loupes.

4. Adjustment settings

  1. Inter-pupillary distance (Figure 4)
  2. Depth of field
  3. Width of field

One can also get his/her own loupes customized according to these adjustment settings

5. Illumination

  1. Additional illumination is imperative (Figure 5).
  2. Supplementary lights should be of appropriate intensity and color. It is available as halogen, LED, Xenon.
  3. Xenon is the best, its wavelength being equivalent to natural light.

6. Warranty and repair considerations when making the purchase.

7. Price range

  1. TTL loupes are more expensive than flip-up loupes.
  2. Before you buy your own pair of surgical loupes, make sure you do your research.



1. Optical Quality (Figure 6):

  1. There should be no compromise with the optical quality.
  2. Only superior optics with excellent clarity offering high resolution, large depth of field and, maximum light transmission should be looked for at the first.

2. Illumination

Illumination light (Xenon/LED/Halogen) present within the microscope system dictates the brightness and color of the image.

3. Ergonomic Design

The microscope design should help the dentist maintain a neutral, upright working position (Figure 7).

Various ergonomic accessories like varioscope are also available.

4. Workflow Integration

The functionality of the microscope's design (Floor Mount, Wall Mount, Ceiling mount design) should improve the workflow.

5. Documentation

With the use of a dental operating microscope, live onscreen video play is possible, which is useful for patient motivation and training purposes.

6. Hygiene

  1. Maintenance of adequate standards of cleanliness is a prerequisite with the use of a microscope.
  2. A streamlined design with the cables routed internally makes it easier to maintain cleanliness and also helps avoid any accidental cable damage.Every action has an impact. Choose wisely the impact you want to have.


About the author: Dr. Ridhima Uppal

Dr. Ridhima is pursuing her Master of Dental surgery in Periodontology from SGT University, Gurugram, Haryana. (05/2019 - 05/2022)

She has done her Fellowship in Contemporary Endodontics from DY Patil University, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.

She completed her BDS from Bhojia Dental College & Hospital, Shimla, after which she was into private practice for a while before starting her higher education in Endodontics & Periodontics.

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