For Dr. Jenine Esmail, patient education is often lacking in the people she interacts with. Often times, when people come into her exam room, they lack basic information about their eyes. For this reason, she has dedicated her Instagram page, DrJenineEsmail, to filling in those blanks. “One thing that I notice with most of my patients is that they have never actually received proper patient education, which is something I spend time on with each patient during their exam. The more they understand, the more we can prevent diseases and treat them correctly,” she told VMail Weekend.

A native of Chicago, Esmail has been practicing at Saddleback Medical Eye Associate in Mission Viejo, Calif. for a little over five years. She has had her eponymous Instagram for about a year. Because education is her goal, her page contains a lot of clinical information about the eyes and some of the more common conditions people often complain about.

Esmail is also avid about participating in industry wide social media campaigns such as Glaucoma Awareness Month, Macular Degeneration Month and Cataract Awareness Month. “My Instagram page is meant to serve as an outlet for my patients and the general public to keep up with any new advances in optometry/ophthalmology, basic patient education, and the importance of preventive medicine. It also gives an occasional sneak peek into my work day and a small personal touch about my life outside of optometry,” Esmail stated.

When it comes to topic selection, Esmail finds a lot of inspiration from general inquiries coming from either her family and friends or her patients. Her target audience is quite broad, ranging from her own patients, her peers in the optometry field and the general public. When going through Esmail’s page, it’s clear that her intentions are to reach anyone remotely curious about their eye health. Her captions are not so clinical that the average person won’t understand, yet, they are not so elementary that other practitioners couldn’t offer their own expertise on them.

Between practicing fulltime and also being a mother and wife, Esmail manages to post to her page at least once a week. Like many other practitioners, Esmail cites time management as being the biggest challenge of being active on social media. “I see about 20 patients a day, sometimes more. It is actually a lot more work than I thought it would be from the beginning. I work full time and sometimes I don’t even have a chance to look at my phone during the clinic day. When I get home, I prioritize spending time with my husband and daughter. I usually try to update my Instagram after house chores, dinner, and putting my daughter to bed.”

Her busy schedule notwithstanding, Esmail still has plans to expand the content on DrJenineEsmail. Because she specializes in cataracts, glaucoma and dry eye, she wants to focus more on dry eye management in the future. “We have some exciting new technology to help treat dry eye. I hope patients can use my page to follow along on how to properly manage dry eye, since it is one of the biggest problems my patients suffer with,” she said.

Overall, Esmail larger message at hand goes hand-in-hand with the purpose of the page. “I want people to be more educated on eye health in general. I also hope to be a constant reminder of the importance of yearly eye exams with a dilation. This is the best preventive medicine.”