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  • Choosing Between TTL and Flip Up Loupes
  • Teal Smallwood
  • Dental LoupesInstructionL.A. LensSurgical Loupes
Choosing Between TTL and Flip Up Loupes

At LA Lens, we understand that choosing between TTL and Flip-Up Loupes is a dilemma dental and medical practitioners often encounter when purchasing loupes. The question is usually directed at us, with prospective clients wondering, ‘Which loupes do think I should get?’. Because this is a decision based on personal preference and prioritizing your specific needs, 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 and cons for each category of loupes, which will hopefully enable you to choose the right type of loupes for your everyday needs.

TTL Loupes - Through-the-Lens Loupes

TTL Loupes are also often referred to as ‘front-mounted loupes’. This is because the optical barrels are mounted into the carrier lens of the loupes, based on personal Pupillary Distance measurements. They are fixed at the steepest angle of declination possible to allow the user to attain the most ergonomic posture achievable. Since the Mid-2000’s, 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:

 1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Lighter weight

TTL Loupes weigh less than their Flip Up Loupe counter part. This is because users do not have the added weight of the Flip-Up hinge on the TTL. Additionally, the 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 amount of time they plan on wearing their loupes each day. It is also the reason TTL loupes are considered more comfortable than any other type of loupe.

4. Prescriptions can be placed in the barrels and the carrier lens

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 carrier lens, enabling them to see the rest of the room in perfect focus as well.

Disadvantages of TTL Loupes:

1. Higher price

TTL Loupes’ retail price is higher than that of Flip-Up Loupes. This is due to the customization process involved creating TTL Loupes for each individual user, such drilling the barrels.

 2. Personalized – only for one individual

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 barrels will not be placed in the right position if the loupes were not made specifically for them.

3. Modifications

If the user requires a change in their prescription, he or she will need to send their loupes back to the manufacturer for the modification. With L.A. Lens’ Titanium Flip-Up loupes, users can take their loupes directly to their optometrist every time they need to change their prescription.

4. 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 dealing with paper work. TTL Loupes need to be taken off, whereas, the hinge mechanism in Flip Up Loupes allow the loupes to be 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 an adjustable angle of declination and an adjustable pupillary distance.

Advantage of Flip Up Loupes:

1. Lower price

Flip Up Loupes cost less than TTL Loupes because there is less of a customization involved in creating them.

 2. Cater to multiple people

The pupillary distance is manually adjusted for Flip Up Loupes, enabling multiple people to use one pair. 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.

3. 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 doing paperwork or other tasks that do not require magnification. This key advantage makes Flip-Up Loupes a convenient addition to a typical working day.

4. Prescriptions can be changed easily in the carrier lens

Because there is no prescription placed in the optical magnification barrels, it is cheaper, quicker, and easier to change the user’s prescription. With the L.A Lens Titanium range, for example, users are able take their loupes to their local optometrist each time their prescription changes.

5. Greater angle of declination

Flip Up Loupes allow users to customize the angle of declination. Because the distance of the barrels from the users eyes is further, it is enables the angle of declination to be increased - allowing for a more upright, ergonomic posture when practicing.

Disadvantages of Flip Up Loupes:

1. 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.

2. 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 carrier lens and not drilled through the carrier lens. This results in a narrower field of view, which means users are able to see less of their subject area when working.

3. 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 knocked 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.


The L.A. Lens Team


  • Teal Smallwood
  • Dental LoupesInstructionL.A. LensSurgical Loupes

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