STAMFORD, Conn.—Maria Pribis, OD, describes her website, OcularPrime as a vehicle for education for anyone wanting to learn more about the eyes—from colleagues and peers in the field, her patients walking into her practice, or optometry students who are future practitioners.
Indeed, the site is presented in a unique and intriguing way. Though she offers very detailed posts about eye health, OcularPrime is both an educational and easy read for even the average person to learn about all the different factors that affect their eye health.
Dr. Pribis launched OcularPrime a little over a year ago. “Over the course of a one-year period, I wrote articles covering topics which I believe would interest my patients based on interactions with them,” she explained. “I just didn’t think 15 minutes with each patient was enough so I expanded the conversation to the internet.”
While the website serves as a place for patients to get more information, it is also a place where they can continue to interact with her if need be. Through the “Ask the Doctor” component of the website, patients can reach Dr. Pribis anytime.
Currently, OcularPrime features five eyecare trends as topics: “Computer Vision,” a section that discusses eye health in the digital age; “Dry Eye,” which features new studies and various ways to deal with the disease; “Nutrition,” (her specialty) which gives tips on “feeding your eyes;” “Systemic Health,” which addresses diseases such as myopia, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, etc.; and “Fitness,” which encourages readers to live a more active lifestyle.
“Today’s eyecare practitioners are presented with a very unique opportunity. I believe that patients value their sight more than anything else health related. As soon as a patient notices vision problems, they go straight to their eye doctor. If there are underlying health issues, we might be the first line of defense. Even though our focus is eyecare, our job is health care,” Dr. Pribis said.
When it comes to choosing topics for OcularPrime, Dr. Pribis draws inspiration from several sources. “I have a group of very talented individuals helping me out on the back end of OcularPrime,” she told VMail Weekend. “Since I was an undergrad, I’ve been fortunate to have support from some really great people.” She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and earned her doctorate at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.
In addition to social media promotion, Dr. Pribis sets alerts so she’s constantly in the know of what’s trending. “All of the popular media websites obtain useful information, especially when it comes to health. I sift through much of it and spread information that lines up with my vision for OcularPrime.”
As far as social media goes, Dr. Pribis is starting to get the hang of it. “I’ve always understood the importance of personal branding, but I never had a social media account in my life before starting my OcularPrime Twitter account. If nothing else, I’ve engaged with people that would never notice me otherwise,” she said.
With a packed schedule that includes practicing full time, speaking and lecturing engagements, and life in general, Dr. Pribis plans her social media and updates her website during her commute from New York to Stamford, Conn. “I am extremely grateful to live in New York City, but most people that don’t live here just don’t understand the great lengths people will go to just to get the job done. I use that 50-minute train ride time to my advantage. I have an iPad with a keyboard and I just set up my personal hotspot and go to work,” she said.