How do I choose the right headlight for my loupes?
Admetec designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes handcrafted, custom-fitted magnifying loupes and LED headlights. We specialize in creating products that are exceptionally lightweight, convenient to use, and ergonomic – enabling you to focus on being effective while we focus on your comfort.
With this goal in mind, we learned to consider loupes and lights in conjunction and not as separate products. Loupes and lights are two elements of one solution. Each affects the other and both affect your comfort and efficiency.
The following guide was created to provide insight and empower you in determining what type of headlight best fits your needs.
Choosing your headlight:
There are 4 elements to consider when choosing your headlight:
- Wired or cordless?
- How heavy is it?
- How will the light intensity (LUX) impact your work?
- Which light is compatible with your loupes magnification?
PRO TIP: Many practitioners choose their headlight as an afterthought, doing little or no research. Many make their choice of headlight based on the experience of a friend, colleague, or mentor. It is important to realize that while it’s great to get advice, what’s right for someone else may not be the best option for you because each person is different, with different work habits and priorities.
1. Wired or cordless, which is better?
There are pros and cons to both options. “Better” is a matter of how you prioritize convenience, comfort and technical capabilities.
Convenience – Cordless headlights are cool as well as being ultra-convenient. It’s not just a matter of having a nice gadget, going cordless creates a frictionless work experience. When wearing loupes, with a headlight and the addition of Covid protection gear, having one less cable increases freedom of movement which, in turn, increase comfort and efficiency.
Comfort – While going cordless impacts comfort, it is necessary to consider weight as well. A wired headlight connects to a battery pack you wear (on your belt, in a pocket). A cordless headlight places the battery along with the headlight, above the loupes nosepiece. In other words, cordless headlights will necessarily be heavier than wireless ones.
At Admetec, we know weight is a critical factor in the usability of our products. That’s why we developed an innovative design solution for our Butterfly headlight – distributing the weight evenly across the frame’s bridge, thus reducing the pressure on the physician’s nose.
Technical capabilities – The run time of the batteries and how long it takes to charge is something to consider. At Admetec, we designed all our headlight sets to be able to run for 6 hours or longer, enough for a standard working day – without having to charge batteries.
Charging time is shorter for our cordless lights however the wired models provide higher intensity light.
Changing batteries in both our wired and cordless models is easy, even during surgery. Our wired models (Orchid) work by plug and play – unplug the headlight from the depleted battery pack and plug in to the charged one and you are good to go. Our cordless lights (Butterfly) have an ultra-usable, streamlined design with an intuitive, magnetic battery connection.
2. Weight – how heavy is the headlight?
Cordless lights are necessarily heavier than wired lights. Loupes, with their headlight, sit on your face for hours at a time so every gram matters. The lighter they are, the better you will feel at the end of the day.
All Admetec products are designed to be ultra-light. Our Butterfly headlight models weigh between 25-30grams – but our wired lights are even lighter.
3. How will the light intensity (LUX) impact your work?
It would be natural to assume that the stronger the light intensity, the better. In this case, stronger is not necessarily better. Light intensity should match the type of work you are doing. For example, a hygienist needs less intensity than a dentist doing very fine, pinpoint work.
Your working distance is a key element in choosing the appropriate light intensity. For example, if you are taller or work with Ergonomic loupes your working distance will be larger than someone who is shorter or works with Galilean or Prismatic loupes.
The further a light source is from where the light hits, the more the beam circumference expands and diffuses. These elements need to be balanced so that the beam is not:
- too small – leaving dark “borders” around your field of view. The beam should illuminate your entire field of view, so you can work easily.
too large – spilling over and creating an unpleasant feeling for your patient of being blinded. The beam should illuminate your field of view but not be so large that it disturbs the patient.
4. Which light is compatible with your loupes magnification?
Higher magnifications make it seem like we are looking at a large object while, in fact, the object and the amount of light illuminating it, remains small. As a result, the object we see in the field of view of our loupes will seem darker.
This phenomenon dictates the rule of thumb in choosing your headlight that, as you increase your magnification, the light intensity needs to increase as well.
We have created a simple guide to help match Admetec loupes and lights. Obviously, if you are looking into loupes and lights by other providers their specifications will differ. This guideline can still be helpful in the insights provided regarding what questions are useful to have answered when you are on the quest to determine which light is right for your loupes.
Recommendations, not rules!
We have created a simple guide to help match Admetec loupes and lights. Please note that these are general recommendations, based on our experience. One of the most important variables to consider is something that we cannot calculate – your unique situation and preferences.
If you are a surgeon rather than a dentist, this will influence which choice is best for you. If you are tall (have a long working distance), the best choice might be different than if you are short. You might feel that you like one solution over another “just because” – that is your personal preference and that matters because your loupes and light are an extension of YOU. These factors are something to discuss with the representative that helps fit you with your loupes and light, to make sure you find the match that is best for you.
Obviously, if you are looking into loupes and lights by other providers their technical specifications will differ. The guideline here can still be helpful in the insights provided regarding what questions are useful to have answered when you are on the quest to determine which light is right for your loupes.
*(10x) It is possible to match Butterfly-S with 10x magnification however if the doctor’s working distance is 550mm or over this is not recommended. In this combination, the circumference of the light beam will be larger than the field of view and, as a result the “extra” light might shine in the patient’s eyes, creating an unpleasant experience.
**(3.2x) The field of view is larger than the circumference of the light beam. This means that although you will have a very strong beam of light, it will not illuminate your entire field of view, creating dark borders around the edge of your field of view. Surgeons sometimes choose this combination, knowing that their headlight will provide the pinpoint illumination they need while the rest of the operating field will be illuminated by their overhead light