Although they don’t yet have individual names, Alissa Coyne, OD ‘10, Resident ‘11, FAAO
, course coordinator for the Ophthalmic Lasers and Minor Surgical Procedures course and assistant professor in the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University calls them “the twins” because they were purchased at the same time.
She’s referring to two new lasers — both Nidek YC-200 S Plus — that are now featured in what is the new Laser Suite on the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus.
The addition of “the twins” brings the total number of lasers in the lab to five, with the hopes of adding even more lasers down the road. All of the lasers are connected to a large screen TV and can be used at the same time, so students in the lab who aren’t simulating being doctors at the moment can observe and learn while other students are performing the simulated procedures with the lasers.
“I really enjoy teaching in the laser lab, especially the first time the students come in. There is excitement to learn a new skill,” said Dr. Coyne, who in addition to lasers and minor surgical procedures also teaches ocular pharmacology. “It’s taking what the students have previously learned in the clinical skills lab and being in clinic honing their examination skills. And, then adding on an additional aspect to their learning to really put it all together in order to perform these procedures. They will be able to go to any state that has minor surgical producers or laser procedures and be able to perform them competently and confidently.”
Four states allow advanced surgical authority, meaning optometrists have laser privileges beyond foreign body removal.
The Hafter Family Light and Laser Institute was first developed in 1990 by Charles Wormington, PhD, OD, Resident ’85, FAAO
, (faculty 1985-2017; now professor emeritus) and Felix Barker, OD, FAAO
(faculty 1978-2010; now faculty emeritus; served two terms on the PCO Board of Trustees).
Having taken laser lab as part of the curriculum when she was a student at PCO/Salus, Dr. Coyne said the course has since been expanded to include minor surgical procedures.
Through her involvement in the American Society of Optometric Surgeons (ASOS), Dr. Coyne has been able to test and utilize lasers from different companies. The lasers chosen for the lab provides a hands-on experience in a risk-free patient environment for the students.
“Not only do we have the new lasers, we also have excellent simulation eye models we utilize in the lab and we have numerous different laser lenses that allow the students to practice and have a hands-on experience in order to take what they’ve learned and really be able to practice in any of the 50 states and feel comfortable,” said Dr. Coyne. “While every state may not have laser privileges, we are still teaching to the highest scope of practice.”