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Choosing Between TTL and Flip-Up Loupes

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Choosing Between TTL and Flip-Up Loupes

We at SheerVision understand that choosing between TTL (Through-The-Lens) and Flip-Up Loupes is a dilemma both dental & surgical professionals often encounter when purchasing loupes. The question is usually directed at us, with prospective clients wondering, ‘Which type of loupes do think I should buy?’.

Because this is a decision based on both your personal preference and by prioritizing your specific needs, so we understand that it is not the easiest decision to make. However, we thought we would try to help by providing you with a decision-making structure - listing the pros & cons for each category of loupes, which will hopefully enable you to choose the best type of loupes for your specific requirements.

The Intoduction of TTL Loupes
Today's Through-The-Lens (TTL) loupes are more popular than flip-ups. Note that TTL Loupes are also often referred to as ‘front-mounted loupes’ or FLM. This is because the optical barrels are mounted into the lens of the frame, and are custom manufactured to your specific Pupillary Distance or “PD” measurement. They are fixed at the steepest angle of declination possible to allow the user to attain the most ergonomic posture achievable. Since 2010, TTL Loupes have become the most popular type of loupes on the market, especially with Dental Schools now adopting them as the new standard of practice.

Advantages of TTL Loupes:

Fully customized to the user

These loupes are custom-made to fit each individual perfectly. Catering for personal PD measurements and working distance measurements, TTL Loupes also provide the best possible ergonomic position for user, with no adjustments necessary.

A wider field-of view
TTL Loupes offer a ‘wider field of view’ through the magnified optical barrels. The reason for this is because the optical barrels are closer to the user’s eyes, which means users are able to see a larger area of focus than they would with the same magnification in a Flip-Up Loupe.

Lighter weight

TTL Loupes weigh less than their flip-up equivalent. This is because users do not have the added weight of the flip-up hinge on the TTL. Additionally, the optical barrels do not protrude out as far, meaning users do not have to rebalance the weight using their neck muscles. This is key when users take into account the number of hours, they plan on wearing their loupes each day. It is also the reason TTL loupes are often considered more comfortable than any other type of loupe.

Prescriptions can be placed for both near and distance vision

For some brands of TTL Loupes can accept users’ reading prescriptions in the optical barrels, allowing users to see in perfect focus when working. In TTL Loupes users are also able to place their distance prescription in the frame’s carrier lens, enabling them to see the rest of the room in perfect focus as well.  SheerVision’s loupes accommodate both needs.

Disadvantages of TTL Loupes:

Higher price
Price's for TTL Loupes are often higher than that of flip-up Loupes. This is due to the customization process involved in manufacturing TTL Loupes customized for just one user.

Personalized – only for one user
TTL Loupes are customized to the extent that users will not be able to share their loupes with other colleagues. Each user will have a different PD measurement, which means the optical barrels will not be placed in the right position if the loupes were not made specifically for them.

Vision updates
If the user requires a change in their eyeglass prescription, he or she will need to send their loupes back to the manufacturer for the update to be made.

The optical barrels are fixed in place
The optical barrels are fixed in place, which means users are unable to flip them up when talking to a patient or when charting. Often TTL Loupes need to be taken off, whereas, the hinge mechanism in flip-up loupes allow the loupes to be quickly flipped-up and out-of-sight.

Flip-Up Loupes
Flip-Up Loupes have optical magnification barrels mounted on a hinge mechanism just above the bridge of the nose on a pair of glasses. These loupes flip down in front of the carrier lens. They are called “flip-ups” as they can be flipped up out of sight using the hinge mechanism, once users have finished working with them. These loupes are very popular as they offer both an adjustable angle of declination and an adjustable pupillary distance.

Advantages of Flip Up Loupes:

Lower price
Flip-up loupes cost less than TTL Loupes because there is less of a customization involved to manufacture them.


Cater to multiple users
The pupillary distance (PD) is able to be adjusted for Flip Up Loupes, enabling multiple people to share one pair of loupes. However, it is important to note that the working distance cannot be changed, which means that if two colleagues have varying working distance measurements (ex: 17 inches vs. 19 inches), the loupes will not be a perfect fit for both users.


Can be flipped-up & out-of-sight
This is a significant advantage to using flip-up Loupes in everyday practice. Users are able to flip the optical barrels up and out of the way when they are talking to the patient, enabling direct eye contact. Additionally, the user can flip up the barrels when charting or other tasks that do not require magnification. This key advantage makes flip-up Loupes a convenient choice.


Prescriptions can be changed easily
Because there is no prescription placed in the optical magnification barrels, it is cheaper, quicker, and easier to change the user’s prescription. For example. with the SheerVision Performance Titanium frame, users have the option to take their loupes to their local optometrist to update the change in their prescription.


Greater angle of declination
Flip-up Loupes allow users to customize the angle of declination. Because the optical barrels are not fixed into the frame, the angle of declination can be significantly increased - allowing for a more upright, ergonomic posture when practicing.  For wearers with previous neck or back injury -or are currently practicing while in pain – flip-up loupes become a strong option to consider.


Disadvantages of Flip-Up Loupes:

Heavier than TTL Loupes
Flip-Up loupes are noticeably heavier than TTL Loupes due to the added hinge on the loupes. Additionally, the optical barrels protrude out further, creating a more uneven weight balance. Because of this, one’s neck muscles need to compensate more when practicing.

Narrower field-of-view
The optical barrels are further away from user’s eyes than they are in TTL Loupes, as the barrels are on the other side of the frame’s carrier lens and not drilled through this lens. This results in a narrower field-of-view, which means users are able to see less of their subject area when working.

Angle-of-declination is adjustable
While this can be an advantage to flip-up Loupes because it allows users to manually adjust the optical barrels to an optimal position of declination, it can also be a disadvantage because the barrels have the ability to be bumped out of position. This is occasionally inconvenient, as the user would need to re-adjust the position of the barrels.

After reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of TTL Loupes and Flip-Up Loupes, it is key to identify which advantages are most vital to you. Doing so will help you pick the best type of loupes for your everyday needs. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly and we will be happy to help you come to a decision.

Phone: +1 310 265 8918