TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State University’s Oklahoma College of Optometry has a new ophthalmic laser to treat a multitude of eye issues thanks to a generous donation from Oklahoma’s Nix Foundation.

The machine, manufactured by Ellex, is the Tango Reflex, which combines multiple treatment platforms for open-angle glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma, floaters and post-cataract surgery capsular opacification or cloudiness into a single laser system.

This state-of-the-art laser also combines live video projection and recording capability to teach optometry students and residents about the varied and evolving uses of lasers in eye care.

“The Tango Reflex laser system can lessen, or in some instances, even eliminate the need for strict patient compliance with a prescription eyedrop regimen or invasive surgical procedures for certain eye conditions,” said Dr. Nate Lighthizer, assistant dean at NSUOCO. “Having such a cutting-edge machine at NSU’s Oklahoma College of Optometry will give students and residents even more experience with laser treatments for various ocular conditions, as well as benefit individual patients in our community who will now have a safe potential alternative treatment for certain chronic eye conditions that may severely limit their quality of life.”

The Nix Foundation was established in 2007 by James and Mildred Nix. The Tango Reflex is the third optometry equipment purchase the foundation has made for NSUOCO. In 2012, the foundation provided funding for a low-vision machine, Macular Integrity Assessment. This device includes a scanning laser that makes it possible to evaluate a baseline and subsequent changes in people with central vision loss, often due to macular degeneration.

Last year, the Nix Foundation funded the purchase of a Vivid Vision machine that helps patients, particularly young children or previously-untreated adults, develop depth perception and synchronize their brain and eye movements.

The foundation’s passion for better treatments for eye disease stems from the trustees’ aunt, Callie Jordan Stinson, who was rendered totally blind at birth, but successfully lived a long and full life.

Candidates for a laser treatment for the above conditions must first be evaluated by a licensed optometrist and referred to NSUOCO to determine if they meet treatment qualifications.

NSUOCO students, residents and faculty also provide optometry services at all Cherokee Nation Health Clinics, W.W. Hastings Hospital and on campus at NSU in Tahlequah and Broken Arrow.

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