NSU OCO houses some of country’s most advanced technology
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Feature, Campus

NSU OCO houses some of country’s most advanced technology

Published 11/29/17

Taylor Brown

TNE Writer

The Optometry College of Oklahoma, located near the NSU Event Center and Seminary Suites on NSU’s Tahlequah campus, has some of the most advanced technology available to its students. For the most part, OCO offers resources for students and patients similar to most other optometry schools in the country. However, a few specific labs and pieces of equipment found only at OCO put the local college at the top of the list.

While other optometry colleges offer many of the same resources as OCO, the students attending these colleges miss out on some of the training and education that OCO students receive. At OCO, students begin working with the advanced technology and patients in the second semester of their second year. By their fourth year, students are fully engrossed in the technology and have worked with patients one-on-one without a professor.

“Considering that we are the leading state in the scope of optometry, most optometry schools do not offer the courses that utilize this technology,” said Nigenda Griffin, U.S. Virgin Islands graduate student. “This means the student must seek additional training once they graduate. As an OCO student, these courses are built into my curriculum. Once someone graduates from OCO they will be fully trained and certified to perform any of these highly technical procedures.”

OCO offers many different areas of practice for its students, including electrodiagnostics and Optical Coherence Tomography.

“With our electrodiagnostic lab we’re able to test the ability of what the eye sees, which is then transmitted to the brain for processing,” said Dr. Joseph Shetler, OCO facility clinic chief and assistant professor. “With an OCT, we’re able to take an x-ray of the different layers of the retina so we can see very small changes that might be due to diabetes, high blood pressure or other diseases of the eye. We have a very extensive dry eye clinic where we can test quality and any inflammatory disorders of the tears. Because of our unique scope of practice in Oklahoma, we are able to do a lot of work with lasers and have a very up-to-date laser clinic.”

Laser technology is one of the newest features at OCO. The college offers education in various surgeries and procedures that use lasers, including peripheral iridotomy, selective laser trabeculoplasty and yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser surgery. OCO also recently purchased a Pentacam, which will allow students to evaluate all aspects of the cornea precisely and offers the technology needed to learn how to perform minor procedures like pterygium removal and photorefractive keratectomy. 

OCO gives students the opportunity to work with extremely advanced technology and actual patients while still in school, better preparing them than any other optometry college in the country to immediately begin seeing patients as an optometrist upon graduation. The college also offers a post-graduate residency certification and continuing optometric education.

“Optometry is an ever-changing field,” said Brooke Johnson, OCO program representative. “New treatments and equipment are constantly coming out thanks to advances in technology and research. It's important for our students to practice on all types of equipment to help prepare them for their futures in the profession. Optometry will always be changing, and they'll always be learning. Our job is to equip them with the best education possible to help them succeed in the future amidst all the changes that are sure to happen.”

For more information about OCO and the programs and technology it offers, visit https://optometry.nsuok.edu/.

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