Mariam Aslami’s Instagram Proves She Is The Modern OD

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Mariam Aslami is a first-generation Afghan-American optometrist who practices at Lenscrafters in Riverside, Calif. A Georgia native, Aslami moved to the Golden State for optometry school and graduated from the Marshall B. Ketchum University Southern California College of Optometry in 2016 and has been actively practicing since. In August 2018, Aslami decided to create her Instagram page, The Modern OD.

The Modern OD focuses on bringing eyecare awareness to the public, promoting a healthy lifestyle and sharing some scrubs fashion. “I got inspired to create my Instagram page by a pharmacist that I was following for a few years. I loved the concept of using the platform to promote health care,” she said. “It took me a whole year to decide about starting my own page. I was a little shy and scared of what my friends and family would think, but I’m so glad I decided to go for it. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from friends, family and new followers.”

Aslami’s page mostly consists of posts with an eye health message—whether that is in the form of a product review or informational tip—which she balances with showcasing her love for fitness, colorful scrubs and fashion. You can see content that ranges from her review on BioTrue Oneday lenses, her pro-tip on why optometrists check for blood pressure, a quick hike at a local state park as well as her favorite scrubs from go-to stores.

“My main focus was keeping the page health oriented and informative, but I also wanted my page to reflect a little bit of my personality and life, so people can relate to me a little more rather than see me as just an optometrist,” she explained.

  

Though her main target audience consists mostly of other health care professionals and those who want to pursue optometry as a career, Aslami finds that people from different walks of life have encountered her page. Some of those people who have found her online have also turned into patients. “I actually have had a few people from Instagram ask where I work and if they can come see me for an eye exam. Even some people that live an hour away. It is very flattering and exciting that people want to choose me as their optometrist.”

  

While she’s found new patients through The Modern OD, Aslami has also become an unintentional role model. Often times, she receives messages from students who tell her that her presence on their feed has served as motivation for them to pursue optometry or other health fields. She said, “The most rewarding aspect is when I get messages from students telling me that I am inspiring them to pursue optometry or any medical field. I love answering all of their questions and encouraging them that the hard work does pay off!”

  

With over 9,000 followers, one can only imagine what Dr. Aslami’s inbox must look like. Because she is very active on her page—posting, on average, one to three times a week—people expect expeditious responses when they send inquiries. However, between practicing fulltime and juggling her personal life offline, Aslami can’t always be available.


“The most challenging part of running an Instagram page is replying back to all of the messages,” she explained. “I try my best to reply back to all the comments on the posts and the direct messages. Several people ask me why it takes me a day or longer to reply, but I don’t want to be on my phone 24/7. I try to spend quality time with the people around me and not be disrespectful by being on my phone all the time.”

Nonetheless, this seems to be a small challenge as her page continues to grow. The Modern OD is the only social media page Aslami runs and she hopes that one day she can use it to build her own business. “I believe that Instagram is the most popular social media platform. It is the only one I currently use. It is the best platform for me to share a little bit of optometry and my life with people from all over the world. I’m hoping one day to use it as a platform to market my future business. I’m not sure exactly what business yet, maybe one day I’ll come up with my own eyewear or scrubs fashion line. Who knows, the sky is the limit.”

While she may not be certain about her future business plans, Aslami is sure that being an active presence on Instagram, when it’s done purposefully and professionally, can only be beneficial to other practitioners. She encourages anyone who may be bashful to just go for it. She concluded, “I just want to say if anyone has been considering starting a professional Instagram page but is having doubts, just got for it. Don’t worry about what people will think or if it will be a successful page. You never know until you try.”