INSIGHTS: Voices + Views 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 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 am 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—including my precious pets—is up to,” Mefford stated. While she was still in school, the page showcased a lot of Mefford’s life as a student—doing volunteer work, taking her boards, and eventually graduating. Now that she is practicing, the newly branded DrCaitlynMefford showcases a lot of Mefford’s life as a new optometrist. While she often takes an educational angle, teaching her followers various eye-related topics, she also posts content for upcoming optometry students and people interested in their health in general. “I have always loved teaching. During both undergrad and optometry school, I tutored students in the classes below me,” she explained. “I feel that being able to explain a subject to others is one of the best ways to make sure you know it yourself, so I find so much value in sharing knowledge. Now that school is over, social media is a way to continue to spread information and awareness on topics from eyecare, to nutrition, and health in general.”While educating is a passion for Mefford, it is also important to her that her followers know she is more than just a doctor. The page showcases other parts of her life that go hand-in-hand with being a practitioner. “It is just about my life in general. I could never take the time to separate them into different pages—plus I think it is good to see all the sides of someone’s day. Eyecare is a huge part of my life, but so are other things. When I follow others, I like to see not only their work but also their hobbies and passions outside of work,” Mefford said. From her new journey as an OD at Bussey Eyecare Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, her various trips to Garrapata State Park or the Ouachita National Forest, her passion for nutrition, her four-legged-friend Ella and even her lovely wedding pictures, Mefford is adamant about making sure people know she is more than just another white coat. Her strategy seems to pay off because followers respond to her content. While she posts with no particular target audience in mind, Mefford averages over a 100 likes per picture and is often engaging with followers in her comments. While Mefford appreciates the value in pre-planning posts, she mostly goes with the flow and posts when she feels it’s important. “It is of course always a balance on social media of spreading information but protecting patient privacy, but I take inspiration from my patients and daily conversations and interactions. I learn so much from my patients and use that to help spread knowledge to others whether it is about a disease process, new technology, or how eating a healthy diet can prevent vision loss and chronic disease progression.” Because Mefford practices close to her hometown, most of her patients are people who already knew her. However, since she is so active online, she has been able to connect with practitioners in other fields as well. Overall, she wants anyone who follows her page to come away knowing that working hard doesn’t have to be a joyless experience. “Making connections through both the eyecare world and other health fields has been cool. I have been able to meet other optometric students and physicians at conferences that I would not have known without this handy little platform,” she told VMail Weekend. “Health care and science are cool and studying and working hard for a goal is worth it and can still be fun. While it takes 8 to 10 years to become an optometrist (depending on residency), I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she concluded.