One potential positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic has been improved access to online education for aspiring ophthalmologists across the nation and around the globe.1 The pandemic has increased the availability and adoption of virtual resources for trainees and has had transformative, and likely long-lasting, effects on ophthalmic education.2
Social media offers an affordable and effective way to exchange ideas and information. Within ophthalmology, this forum provides opportunities for ophthalmologists in training to increase their online presence; meet and engage with colleagues; increase exposure to academic institutions and peer-reviewed journals; stay informed of current events; and learn about research advances, policies, and fundraising initiatives.3 In this way, social media is able to supplement medical school curricula, especially if an institution lacks an ophthalmology department or residency program.4
Throughout the pandemic, ophthalmologists in training and in practice have collaborated on virtual programs to share scientific knowledge and foster opportunities for mentorship and networking. Social media is commonly used in these pursuits, leading many organizations that serve aspiring ophthalmologists to focus their efforts on these channels. Although by no means an exhaustive list, this article reviews the resources I have followed closely while navigating the pandemic as an ophthalmology trainee.
The AAO is the world’s largest association of ophthalmologists. AAO shares clinical information for trainees and ophthalmologists through its website, which hosts The Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE) Network and EyeNet magazine. The association has cultivated a large social media presence featuring resources for young ophthalmologists, advocacy opportunities, academy programs, meetings, and more. The AAO also produces the peer-reviewed journal, Ophthalmology, which shares research summaries through its Twitter account.
Follow on Twitter @AAO_ophth and @AAOjournal and Instagram @AAOeye
EyeFlyMD is an educational effort led by an ophthalmology resident Matt Hirabayashi, MD, that aims to produce high-yield educational content in an engaging and accessible manner. The platform offers educational slides, videos, and case presentations, as well as resources for matching and research in ophthalmology.
Follow on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @eyeflymd
Founded and led by medical students, EyeRes is a community for sharing resources relevant to ophthalmology residency applicants. EyeRes produces a calendar of webinars and other important dates in the application cycle, maintains a list of residency programs with information from online sources and program directors, and produces a blog featuring advice from current residents.
Follow on Twitter @EyeRes
EyeTea offers impromptu roundtable discussions with experts about evolving technologies in ophthalmology, facilitated via the social audio app, Clubhouse. Past panelists have included department chairs, as well as leadership from the National Eye Institute and National Health Service. EyeTea also produces a podcast that can be found on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Follow on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @eyeteaofficial
Eyetube is an online source for ophthalmic surgical videos, educational series, podcasts, and more. With more than 9,000 videos and 135,000 members from around the world, the website is powered by user-generated content that is categorized by subspecialty or topic for easy viewing. The site also features a designated Residents & Fellows channel.
Find on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram @eyetubenet
Started during the pandemic by medical student Bilal Ahmed, Honestly Bilal is an online platform through which aspiring ophthalmologists share their stories and learn from practicing ophthalmologists. Bilal also produces a podcast series of the same name (featuring more than 60 episodes) as well as a YouTube channel and blog.
Find on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube, or follow on Twitter and Instagram @honestlybilal
LatinoOphtho is an online community for Latinas and Latinos in ophthalmology. The group features introductions to Latino and Latina aspiring ophthalmologists on its Twitter and organizes forums through which individuals can support one another and share their journeys in ophthalmology.
Follow on Twitter @LatinoOphtho
MillennialEYE is a digital publication for the future leaders in ophthalmology. The publication features content on surgical techniques, research and innovation, training, global ophthalmology, ophthalmic culture, and more.
Follow on Twitter and Instagram @MillennialEYE
Open Globe Talk
Open Globe Talk is another podcast series that launched during the pandemic. Founded and hosted by aspiring ophthalmologist Rizul Naithani, the program is designed to help other trainees and current ophthalmologists looking to learn more about global ophthalmology. In addition to the podcast, Open Globe Talk is a source for information about global ophthalmology opportunities available through residency and fellowship programs.
Find on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or follow on Twitter and Instagram @openglobetalk
Founded and led by trainees, Ophthalminute is a platform that features 1-minute videos summarizing and explaining key findings from landmark studies in ophthalmology (eg, Herpetic Eye Disease Study and Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Protocol T).
Follow on Twitter and Instagram @ophthalminute
The Lens is a weekly newsletter that summarizes key findings from recent studies in ophthalmology, with subsections featuring various ophthalmic journals and subspecialties. Founded and led by trainees, The Lens has also developed a podcast presenting key concepts in ophthalmology and conversations with ophthalmologists, as well as an offshoot blog describing the value and applications of AI in eye care.
Follow on Twitter @TheLens_oph
YoungMD Connect is a membership-based mentorship and educational platform for aspiring and young ophthalmologists. It was borne out of the need for more opportunities for trainees to connect with peers and mentors following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. YoungMD Connect offers mentoring sessions with leading ophthalmologists as well as workshops on various topics including surgery, research, training, technology, global ophthalmology, and more.
Follow on Twitter and Instagram @YoungMDConnect
1. Chatziralli I, Ventura CV, Touhami S, et al. Transforming ophthalmic education into virtual learning during COVID-19 pandemic: a global perspective. Eye. 2021;35(5):1459-1466.
2. Mishra K, Boland MV, Woreta FA. Incorporating a virtual curriculum into ophthalmology education in the coronavirus disease-2019 era. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2020;31(5):380-385.
3. Tsui E, Rao RC. Editorial navigating social media in #ophthalmology. Ophthalmology. 2019;126(6):779-782.
4. Schmuter G, Tooley AA, Chen RWS, Law JC. Social Media in Ophthalmology: The Educational and Professional Potential for Medical Students. Journal of Academic Ophthalmology. 2020; 12(01):e41-e45.