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Lighting: the next step in the magnification equation for dentists

medical lighting

Heine’s LED LoupeLight 2

This article is sponsored content brought to you by HEINE Australia.

Have you ever taken the time to really consider the lighting you have in your practice—beyond just how bright it is and maybe how much energy does it use?

The terms ‘colour rendering index’, ‘homogeneity’, ‘colour temperature’, ‘lux’ and ‘thermal management’ are becoming more commonplace within medical lighting sales material. However, these terms can still be misunderstood or even overlooked when making decisions about what lighting will be suitable in your practice.

medical lighting

Without light and without magnification.

In healthcare environments, we see the impact that appropriate medical lighting can have in the health outcomes of patients. Greater diagnostic accuracy, reduction in misdiagnoses and increased practitioner confidence are some of the tangible benefits that can be achieved.

Adding a light to your loupes

Binocular loupes are a familiar sight in most dental practices and many practitioners are now incorporating a light source to their set. The aim is usually to gain some independence from their traditional chair light (not having to continually adjust its position and cast shadows over their work) while also improving the quality of work they perform.

medical lighting

With magnification and poor CRI.

The intention is a sound one but if we approach this decision merely in terms of brightness, we run the risk of not considering some vital elements that have significant impact into what makes a good quality medical grade light. 

A brief history of lighting: the switch from halogen (XHL) to LED

We are now in the age of the LED (light emitting diode) for obvious reasons—they are energy efficient, usually brighter and last much longer than halogen globes. So, in applications when these criteria are of utmost importance, such as street lights and torches, they work brilliantly. 

medical lighting

With magnification and quality LED with high CRI.

The challenge comes when we use them for medical applications where having light that reproduces tissue colours accurately and a uniform beam of light are just as high on the importance scale.

It is for this reason that halogen was always the ‘gold standard’ for medical lighting as it gave a consistent, uniform beam of light and most importantly had a high CRI value.

If you’re considering making the switch, take the time to consider 5 key elements which will help you along the path to making the most informed decision…

1. Colour rendering index (CRI)

This is a universal measurement used to assess how well a light can reproduce colours as they naturally appear, with 100 being perfect true-to-life and 0 being completely distorted. Any light that has a CRI value >90 is what to look for.

2. Homogeneity

A light that has a defined spot and uniform intensity of light across it (no diffuse areas). The more homogenous, the better.

3. Longevity

The longer the operating time of a light source, the better. This means less replacement and ongoing maintenance costs.

4. Intensity control

Bright light is good, but is not necessary in situations producing glare and unwanted reflections. A light that allows for precise adjustment of intensity to suit the working environment is most ideal.

5. Thermal management

An LED may not transfer any heat to a patient, but it operates very hot. Managing this ‘operating’ temperature is important for user safety and consistent performance of all other elements throughout its life. 

The ‘take home’ message

So before taking the step into adding Heine’s new LED LoupeLight to your loupes, consider what aspects of the light are most important to you and use these as the benchmarks to assess the options—with rapid advancements in LED technology, you might be pleasantly surprised with what is available.

For more information on the latest Heine LoupeLight 2 range from Ivoclar Vivadent, visit www.ivoclarvivadent.com.au.

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