‘Eyesplain-ing’ Eye Conditions With Caitlin Morrison, OD

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NEW YORK—Caitlin Morrison is a practicing optometrist and contact lens specialist in the cornea department at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. In 2014, she created her website, CaitlinJMorrison.com because she wanted to have a place where she could share new information, developments in research and explanations of things in the world of eyes, with her patients outside of the exam room. The website, which features a designated blog section that discusses topics such as “I Have Keratoconus... Why Can't I See Well With Glasses?” and “How Can I Be A Successful Contact Lens Wearer?”—has since transitioned into her Instagram account, Eyesplain.

Dr. Morrison created Eyesplain earlier this year as a mini-blog, where she writes a new post every week and updates her Instagram stories at least twice a week. “A lot of people are now typing in specific hashtags like #keratoconus or #dryeyes in order to find information about their eye conditions or doctors that deal with these specific conditions,” Dr. Morrison said. “I love being a lifelong student— reading different articles and journals. The blog and the Friday Research Roundup on my Instagram stories are places where I can share the information that I learn with patients and other practitioners who might find it useful or just interesting.”

Dr. Morrison creates her posts for anyone who wants to learn about their own eyes and those with specific conditions and just don’t know available options for treatment. Since creating the Instagram page, she has received queries from patients from different countries. “I did a Cornea and Contact Lens Residency and I get a surprising number of direct messages from people who have keratoconus,” Dr. Morrison explained. “I have helped them find eye doctors who fit specialty contact lenses in their own countries and have directed them toward the right doctors to evaluate their condition.”

When it comes to selecting topics, Dr. Morrison gets inspiration from her day-to-day life as a practitioner and also draws from topics that she sees are trending. Posts are usually explanations about eye conditions or answers to questions she frequently gets asked. The “I Have Keratoconus… Why Can’t I See Well With Glasses?,” blog post for example, featured images that mimic how a normal eye sees versus an eye with keratoconus, which made it easier for the reader to understand the condition.

While she is dedicated to her blog, being a full-time practitioner and a trying to keep posts up-to-date has proven to be a challenge. “It takes a lot more time than I originally predicted to come up with content that is meaningful and contains quality information,” Morrison said. “I do a lot of double checking so that everything I post is rooted in very recent data and research.”

However, with her Instagram account taking off, Dr. Morrison has found a way to keep her readers up-to-date in a way that is both informative and also manageable for her. “My Instagram was started so I could just develop quality content that would educate people and inspire them to feel more empowered about taking care of their eye health,” she told VMail Weekend. “It was originally just for fun but has really taken off. I love interacting with people in the comments and direct messages.”

  

While maintaining a presence online can be challenging, the interactive aspects of the website and Instagram account have been the most rewarding for Dr. Morrison. “I am now connected to people from around the world who have different questions and are interested in learning about their eyes,” she stated. “I hope that people are able to better understand their ocular conditions, the treatments available and feel empowered to take charge of their own health.”