There are three principal reasons for adopting magnifying loupes for operative dentistry: to enhance visualization of fine detail, to compensate for the loss of near vision (presbyopia) and to ensure maintenance of correct posture. The wearing of loupes is becoming an accepted norm amongst qualified practitioners and increasingly in the undergraduate population. However, further research is required before evidence-based recommendations can be made about their effectiveness in achieving the three principles. Compared to the medical literature, there is a paucity of studies on the use of loupes in dentistry. This article presents an overview of the well-documented (but under-researched) optical and ergonomic benefits of wearing loupes and highlights special circumstances where the use of loupes would be inadvisable. The article concludes with a review of the small number of studies on magnifying loupes specifically for restorative dentistry.
Clinical relevance: The reader should consider the information in this article prior to the purchase of magnifying loupes.