Selecting the Proper Working Distance for Surgical Loupes & Dental Loupes

Posted by Theresa Gallagher on

Working Distance for Surgical & Dental Loupes

Wondering how to choose the correct working distance before buying loupes?
An important consideration in binocular loupe selection for the health care practitioner is working distance (W.D.)  In addition to properly magnifying the subject, loupe wearers can work long days while minimizing neck strain. Correct posture and the correct W.D. will minimize neck strain.

Fortunately, high quality loupe manufacturers, such as HEINE, offer loupes with varying W.D. Once the proper magnification is selected, for example, 2.5x, the user should consider the appropriate W.D.  The HEINE 2.5x HR loupe is available in three W.D.'s: 13" (340mm), 16" (420mm) and 20" (520mm).   Each of these optics has a range of focus, called the depth of field. The center of the focal range is the W.D. For example, the 16" (420 mm) working distance will be in focus plus or minus about 3.5" from the W.D. (This varies slightly per each lens magnification). Therefore, a lens with a W.D. of 16" will be in focus from the eye for a distance of approximately 13" through 19". This is a very pleasant range, and the 16" model is by far the most popular W.D. for both surgical and dental specialists alike.  
Other aspects in choosing the correct working distance are:
  • The user's height
  • The user's specialty
  • Wearing loupes while standing versus sitting
Situations vary, so we recommend working with a partner to help determine personal W.D.:  
  • Assume a typical position and posture used while performing actual procedures. Whether sitting or standing, assume a comfortable position for longer cases.  Also consider factors such as your standing height (Are you taller or shorter?), arm length and also torso length while sitting.  
  • Simulate your typical working position, but err on the side of maintaining proper posture. Remember that loupes can prevent unnecessary stooping and hunching, and this may prolong your work day, and possibly your career!  Have your partner measure from eye to subject where your typical W.D. falls.  
  • Also remember that quality loupes, such as the HEINE 2.5x13", 16" or 20" W.D. have a variability of +/- a few inches, so you will definitely have a good range of focus.
After acquiring your selected loupes, we recommend wearing them for a few cases before judging if they are right for you.  HEINE offers a 45 Day Money Back Guarantee, so occasionally a wearer will want to switch from one working distance to another prior to settling on his/her desired specification.  This is not a problem, and we will be happy to accommodate your specific needs. 
Shop our loupe collection: HERE!


Gallagher Medical Products