Stephanie Sengwe, Contributing Editor

Stephanie's coverage includes independent retailers and ECPs and reports on optical boutique/eyecare practice news and trends including local events, social purpose initiatives and store openings. She is the editor for several VM print features, such as Local Diary, Trending, In/Store, HearSay and Endpage. Stephanie is also the social media coordinator for Vision Monday's social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Contact Stephanie at

New Kid on the Block, Caitlyn Mefford, Is No One Dimensional Doctor

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, October 11, 2019 9:49 AM Caitlyn Mefford, OD, may still be a rookie in the optometry field, but she is no novice when it comes to social media. A recent graduate of NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry, Mefford has only been practicing since August, but she’s been running her Instagram page since 2012, when the social media platform was still starting out as well. Today, the savvy millennial doctor is boasting close to 2,000 followers on the page, DrCaitlynMefford, and is using it as a way to showcase her day-to-day life as a new doctor and lover of life in general. “I’m sure when I signed up it was a way to connect with friends and family, but it’s morphed into a way for me to share my passion for everything from eyecare and medicine to what my family is up to,” she said.

Dr.EyeGotThis: Rachael Wruble, OD, Is All About Getting the Job Done

By Stephanie Sengwe
Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:43 PM To say that doctors are busy is an understatement. Between seeing patients, running a business, and also managing a life outside of work, their schedules can be hectic. For Rachael Wruble, however, a busy schedule is just par for the course. A native of Bad Axe, MI, Wruble is co-owner of three practices in the Charlotte, NC area—one of which she runs with her husband whom she’s been married to for nine years. As if that wasn’t enough, Wruble and her husband share two toddlers—both under five. In-between all that she has managed to create a strong presence on social media with Dr.EyeGotThis, an Instagram page she rebranded from personal to professional in February this year.

Main Street Takes On Vision Expo West

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, September 27, 2019 11:14 AM Vision Expo West is just a week behind us, and before the next one creeps up on us again, let’s reflect on this one, one more time. This year as in years past, show attendees were active on Instagram, documenting their time at the Venetian and thanks to their robust feeds, almost everything from this year’s show is online. While the formal aspects of Expo showed up on social media—educational courses, buying sessions, and product launches—the event once again proved itself to be a place for ECPs and their colleagues to conduct business, reconvene or let loose. Here are some eye-catching shots captured by ECPs who attended.

Haley Perry OD, Gets Real About the ‘Mom Hustle’ on Her IG

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, September 13, 2019 8:00 AM ASHEVILLE, N.C.—While Instagram can be a great source for fostering relationships, the platform is a double-edged sword because it opens up your life to the opinions of the world. If people only know you from your page, the assumption is that your day-to-day life is exactly as it is online. While this concept can be a bit daunting, causing many to withdraw from social media or curate their content finely, for Haley Perry OD, it is the thing that motivates her. Her Instagram page, Haley A Perry OD, chronicles her very busy life as a business owner of elite Eye care in Asheville, N.C., and working mother. When it comes to the concept of “balancing it all” Perry is not shy in admitting there is no such thing. Instead, it’s about prioritizing and figuring out which task needs her attention the most.

Living Life in 2020 With Gabriela Olivares, OD

By By Stephanie Sengwe
Thursday, September 5, 2019 8:00 AM 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.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Dr. Shalu Pal’s Instagram Page Is Emblematic of Her Jovial Team

By Stephanie Sengwe, Contributing Editor
Friday, August 30, 2019 8:00 AM TORONTO, Ontario—Going to the doctor’s office can be quite daunting to some. The experience can be impersonal, with practitioners who are matter of fact and impersonable. And let’s face it, the whole thing can culminate into a dire diagnosis. Shalu Pal and her team at Dr. Shalu Pal & Associates in Yorkville, Toronto, are aware of this and have made it a mission to give you major FOMO through their Instagram page, helmed by Pal herself. The page is a fun outlet for the practice, intended to lure you and curb your reservations about doctors and the often harrowing experience of being in an examination room.

Maryann Youssef, OD, Is All About Educating and Traveling

By Stephanie Sengwe, Contributing Editor
Thursday, August 8, 2019 9:00 AM Dr. Maryann Youssef may be a novice to the social media game but judging by her page, she’s got the formula figured out. A graduate of the Western University of Health Sciences, this Florida native created Doctor.Maryann eight months ago in an effort to connect with patients outside the exam room. Since then, the page has garnered over 1,000 followers and counting. “I started my Instagram page as a way to share my passion with patients outside of the exam room,” she explained. “At least once a day, I have a patient say, ‘Wow, I never knew you could check all of that in an eye exam!’ Optometry is undervalued, and that is in part due to the lack of education we provide to our patients. I'm trying to do my small part in changing that.”

Audrey Raley, OD, Is the Doctor Next Door

By Stephanie Sengwe, Contributing Editor
Friday, August 2, 2019 9:00 AM Audrey Raley, OD, created her Instagram page, Doc_Raley_OD in May of last year as a way to let her friends and family follow her journey into entrepreneurship with the opening of her own practice, Refined Eye Care. Almost a year later, Dr. Raley opened the doors of Refined Eyecare to her patients and as her practice has gotten on its feet, so has her presence on social media. “I created my IG page as an announcement of the decision I made to open cold,” she stated.

Elena Pryadkina Is Living Her Life in Color

By Stephanie Sengwe, Contributing Editor
Thursday, July 25, 2019 10:00 AM Elena Pryadkina’s Instagram page, EyeAmElena is as colorful as her sense of fashion and it is clear for anyone who stops by the page that she is quite the fashionista. A second-year optician student at Douglas College in New Westminster, British Columbia, she converted EyeAmElena from a personal page to a more optical focused page in order to show her passion for eyewear. Pryadkina found herself falling in love with the profession in 2016 when she took a job as an office administrator in a local independent optical store. “I had never enjoyed working until I started working there and that’s how I knew opticianry was a good career to pursue.”

Beyond the Lens: Dr. Rob Kloepfer Uses His Instagram to Explain Eye Conditions

By Stephanie Sengwe
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 11:45 PM Rob Kloepfer, OD’s Instagram page, EyeDrKloepfer, currently stands at 2,627 followers and it won’t be too long before he hits the 3,000 mark. The page, which features images taken by holding his camera up the slit lamp oculars, is a hub for eye conditions that even those who work within the industry and aren’t ECPs haven’t heard of.

‘FutureOptometrist’ Shares His Education Expertise With Other Budding ODs

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, June 28, 2019 2:26 PM CHICAGO—When Tyler Mathenia got his first pair of contact lenses while in middle school, he knew immediately that he wanted to be an optometrist. His then doctor always reminded him that no other medical profession offered its patients instant results the way optometry did and from then on, the seed was planted.

Independent ECPs Embrace Cataract Awareness Month

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, June 21, 2019 12:46 PM Prevent Blindness is once again using its platform to promote eye safety, by declaring the month of June as Cataracts Awareness Month. As VMAIL previously reported, the organization states that more than 25 million Americans are estimated to have cataract, a clouding of the eye's lens, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. While cataracts are caused by changes related to aging, other factors can contribute to their formation.

Vancouver-Based Durant Sessions Opens Second Location in Canada

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, June 14, 2019 11:46 AM Durant Sessions (DS) started as an optical boutique serving the Gastown community in downtown Vancouver. Founded in 2015, the practice didn’t offer any optometric services until Lili Liang, OD, arrived on the scene and partnered with the store in 2017. “I was strolling around Gastown checking out all the optical shops back in December 2016. I stepped into DS and I instantly knew that I want to make this my work space,” she said.

Scott Lee, OD, Serves Up the Lighter Side of Optometry With ‘Sight Gags Cartoons’

By Stephanie Sengwe
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 1:00 AM If you are involved in the optical field in any way—student, optometrist, optician, supplier, retailer even journalist—you have definitely come across one of Dr. Scott Lee’s popular cartoons. While he is a full-time practitioner at Atlantis Eyecare, online, he is the witty brains behind Sight Gags Cartoons, a collection of humorous optometry doodles that depict the hilarious and sometimes eyebrow-raising side of the science.

Khanh Ton, aka KT.Opt, Is Here to Look Out for Future Optometry Students

By Stephanie Sengwe
Friday, June 7, 2019 1:02 PM She may have just completed her first year of optometry school at the University of Houston College of Optometry, but Khanh Ton is not waiting until she receives her degree in order to pay it forward. This future eye doctor is already using her social media platform as a resource to inform pre-optometry students on various ways to get into the field. A recipient of a BS in Biology and minor in Psychology (she graduated magna cum lade from the University of Houston), Ton knew early on that she wanted to pursue some avenue in the primary health care field.