For Gabriela Olivares, life as an optometrist is not just about your job. The South Florida native promotes eye health on her page as well as overall wellness. While she encourages the general public to get their eyes checked, her Instagram page, LivingIn2020, is targeted toward her peers—engaging them in conditions she runs into in her practice and urging them to prioritize their own health as much as they prioritize their patients’.
Livingin2020 was created in February 2017, in an effort to educate patients and also inspire other health care professionals to live what she calls a 20/20 lifestyle—a well-balanced life that incorporates work, regular exercise and healthy eating habits. “2020 is the universal term to describe normal, perfect vision. LivingIn2020 incorporates fitness as part of the page to encourage others to live a healthy life through diet and exercise,” she stated. “As health care providers it is important to practice what we preach. I educate all my patients about the importance of healthy eating and daily activity to promote healthy eyes.”
LivingIn2020 consists of her time at the gym, educational posts on various eye conditions with some awareness posts mixed in, so that way even her followers who are not versed in optometry still have content to look forward to. From posts about pedunculated lesions or branch retinal vein occlusions, to her latest HIIT circuit, Dr. Olivares makes sure to give her followers a range of content to choose from. Because she does have non-practicing followers, she also includes posts with useful information on contact lenses or the importance of eye exams for them to use in their lives.
Her optometry posts are mostly of eye exams. Her captions give descriptions of her findings and she often asks her peers to guess the diagnosis to see if it’s the same as hers.
“Most of the general public does not know the amount of information the eye can tell us. Just by looking at the inside of someone’s eye we can see if they have diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol for example. Only a small percentage of people actually get an annual eye exam. Routine eye exams are the only way we can help detect early signs of vision loss and prevent progression of some eye diseases. With my posts I hope to remind people that annual eye exams are essential for everyone, even if you have ‘perfect’ vision and do not wear contacts or glasses.”
Because most of her audience consists of other eyecare professionals, Dr. Olivares chooses topics based on real life experiences she’s had with her patients. The goal is to update her page at least once a week, but since she welcomed a baby boy five months ago, staying on top of social media has taken somewhat of a back seat as she adjusts to the new addition in her life.
“It is hard to divide my time between my family, my work and my hobbies like social media. It feels like a part-time job trying to come up with posts, perfecting them and trying to stay relevant and interesting to gain more followers,” she explained.
Nonetheless, Dr. Olivares has found Instagram to be the perfect conduit to connect her to followers she wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. “The most rewarding aspect is being able to connect with people throughout the world. I have met people over Instagram from Europe, Canada and basically all over the world. The love for optometry and ophthalmology is what has brought us together. I also love when people reach out to me with stories or personal experiences they have with patient encounters,” she concluded.