What’s trending: a review of social media in ophthalmology.

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With social media use continuing to increase in popularity, ophthalmologists use social media daily for interactions with patients, colleagues, and the academic community.The potential reach of social media is overwhelmingly encouraging, but academic organizations have much work to do in order to compete for viewership on social media platforms, and users need to remain vigilant of easily spread misinformation. Individual ophthalmology practices can tailor their social media presence to attract and educate patients. Using hashtags to supplement the experience of academic conferences has boosted engagement both of attendees and other interested parties. As an effective indicator of the popularity of different subjects in medicine, new studies are leveraging social media for epidemiological models. Finally, social media is emerging as a powerful tool for patient advocacy in ophthalmology.The accessibility of social media uniquely positions it to educate patients, disseminate public eye health initiatives, and increase the reach of individual physicians. It is also able to enhance the academic experience of conferences, connecting new research colleagues, and is becoming the subject of epidemiologic studies itself. Whether using social media for patient education, research, clinical practice, or patient advocacy, ophthalmologists will find social media an increasingly important workplace contributor.

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Authors: Mauranda Men, Simon S M Fung, Edmund Tsui