The Optometrist Next Door: Lili Liang Is the OD You Want to Check Your Eyes and Hang Out With

By

Lili Liang is a spunky, Taiwan-born optometrist who now resides in Vancouver. After moving to Canada at 13, Liang continued her education in the Great White North until she moved to Montreal to attend university. She later came to the U.S. and attended Salus University—Pennsylvania College of Optometry, where she graduated with a dual degree as a Doctor of Optometry and Master of Public Health in 2016. Post-graduation, she took it back home and started working at Durant Sessions, which was a boutique optical store and she was brought into the optometry practice that same year.

On Instagram, Liang runs “WhatLiliSees,” a colorful page that showcases her sense of humor and personal sense of style in addition to her everyday life as an optometrist. Her posts document everything from her phoropter (aka her partner in crime), a funky pair of shoes she may have paired with polka-dotted pants or her mission trip to Lima, Peru. “I wanted to create something that portrayed me as a practitioner that you can trust, a professional and a person you would like to spend your time with. Someone [followers] can relate to and identify with in a friendly way,” she told VMail Weekend.

While her page features a lot of Dr. Liang’s personal adventures, “WhatLiliSees” also showcases some of Vancouver’s residents. According to Liang, Vancouver has gained some notoriety because of how hard it is to meet people there. In an effort to combat this, a large component of “WhatLiliSees,” are the various pictures of patients who visit Durant Sessions and decide to share personal anecdotes with Liang. She’s shared stories from a local photographer, a local painter and even a local hot sauce maker in order to show how people from different walks of life still have so much in common.

“Through my work, I have the privilege to have a distraction free conversation with people for 30 minutes and I realized that as long as you give someone your undivided attention you can recognize that everyone has a story and you can connect with them,” she stated. “I find that in any urban center if you put in more time and effort you can make connections. You’d be surprised how much we all have in common with each other and identify with each other’s emotions, regardless of our background.”

Because “WhatLiliSees” is tied so closely to Liang herself, curating content for the page isn’t too big a challenge and while she aims to please her followers, she also wants to make sure her content represents who she is. “I post whatever inspires me that day. I post what I would personally enjoy seeing on other accounts. I want my account to genuinely reflect me and not be overly packaged,” she stated. “Running an Instagram account can take a lot of time, but it is important to stay true to yourself and not feel like you need to please your followers or follow trends, so you are able to have a following that truly identifies with you and your brand.”

  

The challenge for Liang—like other practitioners who have invested time into their social media presence—is in finding the balance between keeping it professional, while also being playful and relatable. However, it seems as though Liang has got the formula figured out as her page, which she’s had for a year and a half, is almost at a 1,000 followers.

She’s realized that while patients don’t necessarily find her on Instagram, they tend to follow “WhatLiliSees” after they visit Durant Sessions. “The most rewarding aspect has been seeing that people enjoy my stories,” she stated. “I hope people are inspired to spend more time getting to know each other because everyone has a story when given the chance, you just need to listen.”