Emilie Seitz Gets a Head Start on Engaging With the Industry Through ‘EyeSeitz’

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Emilie Seitz is a third-year optometry student attending the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. Originally from Cleveland, she knew she wanted to be in the health care field from a young age but felt that some areas of medicine didn’t give practitioners enough opportunity to build real relationships with patients. “I realized early on that what I wanted out of my career went even deeper than ‘chair time.’ I wanted the ability grow and experience the twist and turns of life alongside my patients. It was in the field of optometry that I found that opportunity.”

After moving from home to optometry school, she realized that it wasn’t enough to merely describe her experiences to her friends and family so she took to Instagram to show her journey through school.
Her Instagram page, EyeSeitz, started off as a personal page with the handle EmSei; halfway through her second year, she decided to make the page more optometry focused and changed the name to EyeSeitz. After moving from home to go to optometry school, she realized that it wasn’t enough to merely describe her experiences to her friends and family back home and since pictures are worth a thousand words, she took to Instagram to show her journey through optometry school.

“I didn’t want school to be this four-year period where my family asks, ‘How is school going?’ and I simply reply, ‘Good.’ I came to realize others outside of optometry school were going through these big life changes: entering the work force, getting married, and buying houses, but day in and day out there was only one thing I was consistently doing: studying optometry. Even if others couldn’t see it, I knew that in my ‘grad-school life,’ things were changing too. I wanted those inside and outside the profession to be able to understand what optometry school was all about.”

With this in mind, she has grown EyeSeitz to 2,653 followers and counting. She updates the page frequently—making sure to post an Instagram story every day and posting something on her feed every other day. Because Seitz wants to maintain her unique point of view, authenticity is paramount to relaying her message. “I started out using some content that was shared in other social spaces, but I wasn’t satisfied with that for very long,” she said. “I decided to go about curating content that was reflective of my own experiences, whether that be prototypes of devices from a low vison lab, a still shot from a conference event, or a flat lay of my pediatrics equipment, all of my content serves as an abstract representation of my journey.”


Emilie with Coco & Breezy
Her target audience—or ‘Eyeficinados’ as she calls them—ranges from those who are already in the industry to those who are interested in their eyes or the eyecare industry in general and they all gravitate toward various posts on her page. EyeSeitz consists of posts about tips and tricks or experiences from one optometry student to another; others are geared toward pre-optometry students that are interested in the field; others seek advice from practitioners; and some are for education to “showcase all that optometrists can learn and can do.”

Her visibility on social media has allotted her the opportunities to attend industrywide events such as Vision Expo and work with organizations such as American Academy of Optometry and NewGradOptometry as well companies—Essilor, Transitions Lenses, Johnson & Johnson Vision, VSP.

EyeSeitz has also put Seitz in contact with current practitioners who have utilized social media to connect. She names ODs Arian Fartash, Jennifer Tsai, Jackie Garlich and Jennifer Lyerly as some of her mentors, but cites Dr. Matt Geller as an example of what she hopes to achieve in her career.

“He’s terribly passionate and works harder than anyone I know in this industry,” she stated. “What he has created with NewGradOptometry and CovalentCareers are a testament to that. Dr. Geller also makes you see what you are unable to see in yourself. He was the first to help me grow professionally, giving me opportunities to expand my career and encouraging me to apply my talents in new ways. I don’t think EyeSeitz would be what it is today without his mentorship.”

  

While finding the right sense of course and direction has been a bit of a challenge for Seitz, she has already become an influencer with the content she has created thus far. “It’s hard to see yourself as someone of influence, but I always go back to one direct message that really put things into perspective. A 16-year-old from California messaged me saying she really wanted to be in optometry. She asked which AP class I thought would be better to take: chemistry or biology. It was then that I started realizing how important this Instagram platform could be, but also the power and responsibility that comes with it.”

Though she doesn’t have a concrete plan for the future of EyeSeitz, Seitz hopes to get more opportunities to work within the industry as she grows her page, as a student and future practitioner. “I want to encourage more optometrists and optometry students to take their experiences to Instagram. I think it’s a wonderful way to bring our profession into the new age of health care and will allow you the opportunity to interact internally with our profession and externally with your patients.”