Kimberly Chan, OD, Is All About Creating a Work-Life Balance

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Kimberly Chan, OD, fell in love with her profession when she got her first pair of contact lenses as a young girl. With contact lenses, Chan, who has had bad eyesight since she was six-years-old, felt as though a new world had opened up to her; suddenly, she didn’t feel restricted by her thick glasses and was able to explore her potential in sports and other hobbies with a new boost of confidence. Years later, she got her Doctor of Optometry Degree from the New England College of Optometry and currently practices in her home city of Toronto.

Earlier this year, Chan created a private Instagram page, which carries her name, in the hopes of simply being able to share her passion for optometry. However, family and friends encouraged her to make the page public and she now aims to inspire and be inspired by others.

“At first, I only planned to share my ideas and experiences of the ways I practice optometry in Canada in hopes of exchanging knowledge with others who are in the same profession or are interested in eyecare,” Chan said. “I was encouraged to make my profile public so I can inspire more people with my passion for the profession and positive outlook on life. It has allowed me to be part of a great community of people who continue to motivate and uplift each other.”

Chan’s Instagram maintains a perfect balance between her life as an optometrist as well as her life outside of the office. The page includes clinical posts—with information about what different equipment is for and various eye conditions—and various images of her getaways—which include visits to Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Terre Bleu Lavender Farm.

  

“Since I started receiving direct messages from aspiring optometry students and connecting with others, I wanted to continue to post more content that shows what their future holds in optometry,” she said. “From how to apply to optometry school, tips on how to succeed in the program, and lastly to show that it is possible to attain a career doing what they love and not lose themselves to their job.”

While she encourages the general public and other health care practitioners to be more educated on the role of optometrist, she also wants to encourage current ODs to keep self-care at the forefront of their professional lives.

“I know many health care providers talk about their burnout and the struggles to balance it all. I found burning out to be a very real thing in the past years,” Chan stated. “I invested so much time into building my career in optometry that I forgot about being the person that I used to be outside of it. I'm more than just an optometrist and although I'm very passionate about my work, I still have other passions in life that make me who I am outside of work.”

Because her posts are based on her day-to-day life, Chan doesn’t find content curation to be a difficult task. “I find it quite easy to think of a topic to share. There’s so much in the world of eyecare to educate others on. I hope that the public and other health care providers know more about what it is that optometrists do and how much importance eye health can play in diagnosing a patient’s systemic condition as well.”

Chan also doesn’t put too much pressure on herself to create the perfect Instagram page. Though she is always ready to share an anecdote, the opportunity to capture a corresponding picture often passes in order to prioritize her patients.

  

“At my clinic, I may see very interesting cases or eye conditions that I would have loved to share,” she explained. “However, because I'm more focused on providing care to my patient, I tend not to bother capturing their image for a post, because it would take away that quality time between my patient and myself.”

The most rewarding aspect of her social media presence for Dr. Chan has been the opportunity to connect with current optometry students. “It’s a humbling experience to share my tips on studying for the admission test, interview prepping, and insights on optometry as a profession with them through in-person meetings or by communication over e-mail,” she stated.

“Some of these individuals, who are now studying in optometry school or have graduated, stumbled on my Instagram. It was so surprising and rewarding to receive direct messages after all these years from these students that found my page. I was glad to know that their hard work is paying off and that they were reaching their goals.”