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Optometry Offers Continuing Education

Doctors receiving hands on laser trainingNSU’s Oklahoma College of Optometry offers continuing education Ophthalmic Procedures courses

Registration open for upcoming Ophthalmic Procedures course in July

Hands-on training in the latest ophthalmic procedures for eye doctors is available through Northeastern State University’s Oklahoma College of Optometry, a nationwide leader in such advanced optometry techniques.

Dr. Nate Lighthizer, associate dean at NSU’s Oklahoma College of Optometry, said the college has trained eye doctors from across the nation on laser procedures, injections around the eye, eyelid lump and bump removal, and other various office-based ophthalmic procedures. He added only six states currently allow optometrists to do certain laser procedures. Oklahoma was the first state to allow it and NSU’s optometry college is the training institution for doctors seeking to be able to get these privileges.

“Often states that plan to go forward and push for this scope expansion call NSUOCO requesting to get trained on these procedures,” Lighthizer said. “We’re really at the forefront and we feel very fortunate about that.”

Lighthizer said twice a year the college invites doctors to come to campus to participate in its Ophthalmic Procedures Course. This consists of both a didactic classroom component as well as a hands-on laboratory training component. Lighthizer said they typically see between 30 and 50 doctors from around the country participating in the four-day course.

While the most recent offering of the course wrapped up in January, interested participants can still sign up for the next Ophthalmic Procedures Course scheduled for July 8 – 11 in the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry Academic Wing on the Tahlequah campus.

“When you get trained on something—when it comes to a medical procedure, you want the background behind it, the lecture, you want to hear and learn about it in the classroom, you want to watch videos, but then you also want a hands-on training component, for instance laboratory training,” Lighthizer said.

Upon invitation, NSUOCO faculty also take the Ophthalmic Procedures Course on the road and have visited more than 25 states in the past 10 years. The four individuals on the ophthalmic procedures team who travel by invitation to present a four-day training course are the Dean of the College of Optometry Dr. Doug Penisten, ophthalmologist and faculty member Dr. Richard Castillo, faculty member Dr. Jeff Miller and Lighthizer. The course consists of both lecture and hands-on training for between 50 and 100 doctors.

In addition to the Ophthalmic Procedures Course, the NSUOCO continuing education department also provides four other continuing education events each year for doctors across the region.

“Our continuing education department at the Oklahoma College of Optometry is viewed as the leader in training students, residents and doctors around the state, region and country as optometry evolves and expands,” Lighthizer said. “Oklahoma has been very fortunate to be at the forefront. For the last 30 to 40 years, optometry has been very progressive in Oklahoma. Oklahoma optometry and our state association, the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP), is very well organized, and has been the leader in cutting edge technology and scope of practice.”

For more information on the Ophthalmic Procedures Course and to register for the upcoming session in July visit: https://optometry.nsuok.edu/continuingeducation/ScheduleofEvents/AdvancedProcedures/default.aspx.

NSU is highlighting different aspects of the Oklahoma College of Optometry program as part of its “Building Excellence: A Vision for the Future” campaign for a new Oklahoma College of Optometry facility. The estimated price tag is around $33 million. To learn more about the campaign visit the NSU Alumni Association’s website for updates.