An Italian dental school professor’s research found that ergonomic loupes reduced stress in the back and neck.

Admetec, a manufacturer of custom-fitted magnification loupes for dental professionals, collaborated with an Italian dental professor in her study of the ergonomic significance of the company’s Ergo Series of loupes.

In preliminary research using both dentistry students and post-graduate students, Maria Grazia Piancino, associate professor at the University of Turin-Italy, CIR Dental School, and practicing orthodontists, compared the amount of stress on eight symmetrical back muscles when working with Admetec’s Ergo loupes against conventional, through-the-lens (TTL) loupes.

The use of Ergo loupes illustrated a more symmetrical activation of the muscles, as well as a significant reduction of the muscular peaks and mitigation of stress in both the back and neck.

Use of the TTL loupes resulted in greater stress levels, with muscles being highly activated asymmetrically and continuously, rather than with postural activity.

The preliminary results show that the use of non-refractive TTL loupes forces the body to work contrary to its biomechanical design, which leads to fatigue, pain, discomfort, and difficulty maintaining mental focus. The cumulative trauma can eventually impact performance and career longevity, according to the study.

“People tend to be unaware of the enormous impact balance and symmetrical muscle activation have on physical comfort – and by extension, mental focus and overall wellbeing,” said Piancino. “Dentists tend to work in asymmetrical positions for extended periods of time, making demands on their physiology that go against the body’s biomechanical design.”

Professor Piancino and Admetec have agreed to collaborate on further research on the health ramifications of using standard TTL loupes compared to ergonomic loupes.

“We were pleased when Professor Piancino chose to research the physical impact of using ergonomic loupes versus classic TTL loupes,” said Danny Katz, chief operating officer of Admetec. “It is one thing to receive feedback from doctors on how they feel better using our Ergo loupes. It is another to have a scientific explanation that shows why they feel better.”

Photo courtesy of Admetec