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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 261-262

The “Influence” of social media on the ophthalmology fraternity

1 Centre for Sight, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

Date of Web Publication28-Apr-2023

Correspondence Address:
Santosh G Honavar
Centre for Sight, Hyderabad, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJO.IJO_1015_23

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How to cite this article:
Bansal R, Gupta RK, Honavar SG. The “Influence” of social media on the ophthalmology fraternity. Indian J Ophthalmol Case Rep 2023;3:261-2

How to cite this URL:
Bansal R, Gupta RK, Honavar SG. The “Influence” of social media on the ophthalmology fraternity. Indian J Ophthalmol Case Rep [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 1];3:261-2. Available from: https://www.ijoreports.in/text.asp?2023/3/2/261/374891

“Figuring out what the next big trend is, tells us what we should focus on.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Change is definitely the only constant and we must learn to adapt with the changing trends, over the years. The current trend of “influencing” via social media might seem a bit distracting for a busy profession like ours, however, understanding the need and the impact of social media can broaden the horizons of our progress and the change the way we think.

As on January 2023, 5.16 billion of internet users worldwide, constitute 64.4% of the global population. Of these numbers, 4.76 billion (59.4%) were social media users. The largest number of online users resided in Asia (2.9 billion) followed by Europe (750 million).[1] The most useful social media portals for the ophthalmology fraternity are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter. Therefore, it is also important for the ophthalmologists to be oriented to the term “global penetration rate (GPR)” i.e., the percentage of the total population of a given country or region that uses the internet. The GPR of social network is as high as 83.6% in Northern Europe, 83.3% in Western Europe, 76.7% in Southern Europe and as low as 8.4% and 7.4% in Eastern and Middle Africa respectively.[2] The social media has been able to provide ophthalmologists with an interwoven network which has created a closely knit global network.

“By giving the people the power to share, we're making the world more transparent.” - Mark Zuckerberg

Social media has an overwhelming potential to reach out to the masses rapidly; and this power can be utilized for creating an online professional presence, sharing innovative ideas, informing about upcoming and ongoing conferences, connecting with national and international colleagues, research announcements, journal exposure, institutional exposure, fundraising, workplace coordination; and educating patients along with creating patient advocacy. Currently the private practitioners are utilizing social media as communication tools, however the academic institutions have more impact as influencers.[3]

If we fail to adapt, we fail to more forward.” – John Wooden

Every coin has two sides and often the information shared over the social media portals goes beyond control which leads to spreading misinformation, therefore it is advisable for the viewers to develop the ability to identify the accuracy of information wisely. A major pitfall of social media sharing is the lack of appropriate citation of the original source of content, which can be eliminated by accurate appraisal of authorship of the content and hashtag selection.[4] The hashtags boost the engagements of the posts, impact metrics and help the viewers to identify the relatable posts.[5] It narrows down the information available on the internet.

Huang et al.[6] carried out an in-depth investigation of the ophthalmology-related posts on Instagram and noticed that majority of the posts were actually posted by non-ophthalmologists with least engagement of educational posts. This shows the under-utilization of the power of social media by the practicing ophthalmologists who can actually reach a wider audience rapidly via their educational and accurate posts.

If you build a solution to a problem lots of people have, it's so easy to sell your product to the world.” – Kevin Systrom

Social media in most commonly used by the Gen-Z, therefore, educational tools have evolved majorly in the last decade. El Alami et al.[7] in their study conducted in North-Western Europe showed that the residents spent a mean time of 3.08 + 1.98 hours per day online, of which 1.08 + 1.01 minutes were dedicated to education, bringing it to around 50% residents spending 1-2 hours per day for medical education. Parting knowledge via social media is trending for a reason – it is accessible, convenient and readily available for the viewers. Creative educational content published on social media helps in a better understanding for the students/residents and allows them to recapitulate the information more easily, if needed.

Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” – Jack Dorsey

While utilizing social media, the ophthalmologists are advised to keep in mind the following pointers:

  1. Cite the original source of content duly. It is your responsibility to your peers as well as towards the content.
  2. Watermark your original content to avoid copyright issues in future.
  3. Validate the content being posted as it is your responsibility to provide correct information to the audience.
  4. Have a clear idea about the motive behind social posts and ensure that they are being duly met.
  5. Choose the ideal correct social portal based on your target audience.
  6. Keep the jurisdiction and legal aspects of your posts in mind and ensure that none of the laws are being breached.
  7. If surgical videos or images are being used, make sure that they are tagged as sensitive content from your side and later by the social portal as well.
  8. Consent of the patients must be taken duly before posting on social media.
  9. Usage of accurate hashtags must be kept in mind as an ideal option as it provides you a broader yet targeted audience.
  10. Follow-up on your posts and analyse regularly. This will not only help you in understanding the utility of your content and target audience, but shall also help in being creative while choosing future content.

Great products sell themselves.” - Kevin Systrom

It holds true for the medical fraternity; however the role of social media and its impact must not be forgotten. Currently the Ophthalmologists are under-utilizing the available social media resources. The aim of promoting and encouraging the social media access in the world of ophthalmology is not to create a market for the ophthalmologists but to provide information regarding the possible diseases, aetiologies, management protocols and educating the patients by spreading community awareness along with personal and professional growth.

  References Top

Internet and social media users in the world 2023. Statista. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/. [Last accessed on 2023 Apr 13].  Back to cited text no. 1
Social media: Global social network penetration rate as of January 2023, by region. Statista. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/269615/social-network-penetration-by-region/. [Last accessed on 2023 Apr 13].  Back to cited text no. 2
Nguyen AAK, Tsui E, Smith JR. Social media and ophthalmology: A review. Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2022;50:449–58.  Back to cited text no. 3
Tıskaoğlu NS, Seyyar SA. #Ophthalmology: Popular ophthalmology hashtags as an educational source for ophthalmologists, an Instagram study. Indian J Ophthalmol 2022;70:3247–52.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Men M, Fung SSM, Tsui E. What's trending: A review of social media in ophthalmology. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2021;32:324–30.  Back to cited text no. 5
Huang AS, Abdullah AAN, Chen K, Zhu D. Ophthalmology and social media: An in-depth investigation of ophthalmologic content on instagram. Clin Ophthalmol 2022;16:685–94.  Back to cited text no. 6
El Alami F, Moursli Y, Chikhaoui S, Mchachi A, Benhmidoune L, Chakib A, et al. [Social media and its impact on ophthalmology training]. J Fr Ophtalmol 2022;45:34–9.  Back to cited text no. 7


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