Areen Hosein, OD, Uses ‘EyeDocAreen’ to Pay It Forward

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Areen Hosein graduated from Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry in May 2018 and she has made it her mission to document her life as a transitioning student to working professional on her Instagram page, EyeDocAreen. The page, which was created a little over a year ago, has already garnered over 1,000 followers.

“I started it as a professional optometry page. However, I didn’t want to diverge from sharing candid real-life situations that a student, intern doctor, or new graduate faces. I wanted to display the challenges of my journey in hopes that I could reach or help someone else relating to them,” Dr. Hosein stated. “I very much so like the patient education component, but I also find it important to be a learning hub for other optometry students. And finally, I throw some personal milestones in there including rotations, internships, conferences, etc. I very much want to expose the optometry journey to connect with others who are going through it as well.”

EyeDocAreen’s target audience consists of curious patients, optometry students as well as other eyecare professionals. Topics range from clinical eye posts, to reflections of her life in optometry school, industry events she may have attended and much more. When it comes to curating content, Dr. Hosein says she hasn’t had a hard time in choosing what she posts because she draws from her life as a recent graduate and new practitioner. Ideas come from patients’ questions, a new trending topic she may have read about or the latest revelation in the eyecare field.

Though her page is meant to be professional, Dr. Hosein makes sure to keep it personable because she understands that at the end of the day, people follow for her unique perspective on topics. “I find it important to be professional and informative, but I also will use jargon or slang if it means that I’m speaking the way I normally do,” she said. “I really like to stay authentic to my true self, showing that you can be creative, educational, professional, and even silly all at once. That’s what I fell in love with about accounts like these on Instagram. You get to see different sides of health care and the people in it: the good and the bad, the rewarding parts and the struggles. It’s empowering.”

Though she could utilize other social media in order to convey her message, Dr. Hosein chose to go the Instagram route because of its simplicity. “A couple of years ago, I think there was some hesitation with health care professionals getting on social media. It may still be taboo in some doctors’ opinions,” she explained. “However, as an evolving society, I think it’s important to reach and relate to our patients as best as we can. From a student’s perspective, I think it’s awesome that you can be on ‘social media’ yet learning something new. It’s like you’re studying and socializing at the same time—amazing.”

As with most ECPs, Dr. Hosein’s biggest challenge is finding adequate time to interact with her followers. While she thoroughly enjoys engaging online and taking care her of her page, her schedule at Lorton, Va.’s MyEyeDr. keeps her busy and she has to prioritize her in-office patients’ needs.

   

The time she has put into EyeDocAreen thus far has been rewarding, nonetheless. Dr. Hosein has come to realize that being on Instagram is a learning opportunity for her as much as it is for her followers as well. “As a student till now, I am constantly learning from my colleagues. I learn about unique cases and tips for providing the best health care to my patients, all from my Instagram community. I appreciate every health care professional taking the time out of their day to share their knowledge or spread awareness.”

As for the future of the page, Dr, Hosein hopes that EyeDocAreen remains anchored in its mission to inspire others and bridge the gap between being an optometry student and becoming a working professional. “The most rewarding aspect is paying it forward,” she told VMail Weekend. “I want to focus on the journey, from being in optometry school to going on rotations to becoming a new working graduate. I don’t think that transition is well displayed or shared enough and I want to provide that insight.”