Common Mistakes When Using Refractive LoupesCommon Mistakes When Using Refractive Loupes

Refractive loupes are great! They enable dentists to sit upright, look ahead and see into patients’ mouths without harmful neck bending. However, I have seen a few issues, which the companies providing refractive loupes seem to be unaware of. I am in the process of educating some of these companies so that they can provide basic ergonomic advice to dentists along with the loupes.

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Common Mistakes When Using Refractive Loupes

by Dr. Anikó Ball (Optimum) 

Aug 01, 2022

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Does it matter how dentists sit using refractive loupes?

Yes, it does.

Refractive loupes are great! They enable dentists to sit upright, look ahead and see into patients’ mouths without harmful neck bending.

However, I have seen a few issues, which the companies providing refractive loupes seem to be unaware of. I am in the process of educating some of these companies so that they can provide basic ergonomic advice to dentists along with the loupes.


Chin-up head posture

I have seen dentists use refractive loupes (same using microscopes) with a slight upward chin tilt, believing it is the ‘ideal’ head-neck relationship. This results in chronic contraction of the neck muscles and spinal compression.

The head is designed to sit on top of the spine at the atlanto-occipital joint with a very slight forward rotation because the front of the head is heavier than the back; its center of mass being anterior to its base of support.

This results in the activation of stretch receptors in the deep postural muscles at the back of the neck, which in turn activate the antigravity muscular support system.


Leaning to the side

Some dentists are still leaning to the side instead of asking their patients to turn their head to the side or move their stool around the chair. The spine is not designed for prolonged or repetitive side bending.


Long working distance

If the WD is too long, the patient chair is positioned too low, resulting in dentists’ legs locked in. I have seen some dentists forced to sit on the front half of their dental stool trying to get their legs in under the chair.

Being locked into such a position encourages leaning to the side.


Reproduced by Nexlec with permission from Dr. Anikó Ball from Optimum. 

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