NEW YORK—Damaris Raymondi, OD, is a graduate of the SUNY College of Optometry, who has been practicing in New York since 2015. Born to Peruvian parents, Raymondi has dedicated her professional life to reach people beyond her examination room. A volunteer and advocate for Sights on Health—a non-profit that goes to Peru to provide free medical care and eyecare—Raymondi has also incorporated volunteerism as part of her core practices. For those she cannot be in contact with physically, she has her Instagram page, New York Eye Doc, which educates followers on everything from eye conditions to optometric equipment.
Raymondi created New York Eye Doc about a year ago after finding out that people are not going for annual eye exams, and a lot of those people don’t get their first eye exams until they’re 40-years-old. “I noticed a general trend toward wellness and adopting a healthy lifestyle, which is great, but the general public seems to forget about their eye health,” Raymondi told VMail Weekend.
“Many campaigns have done an amazing job, but more needs to be done at a micro level, which is why I decided that since I spend so much time on apps as it is, I may as well use them to educate people on what it is that I do as an optometrist.”
New York Eye Doc mostly consists of her adventures as an optometrist, whether that’s talking about foreign body kits and intraocular lens implants, going to industry events such as the Innovations in Eye Care Program, in Jacksonville, Fla. or her volunteer work in Peru. Because of her Peruvian background, Raymondi has also made an effort to reach fellow Latinx online. She’s created some posts in Spanish on New York Eye Doc, which have gotten a lot of engagement from her followers.
“‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ and by posting I hope to represent my point of view, and my people,” Raymondi stated. “I believe that everyone’s unique story needs to be heard and I’m very open and willing to share more about myself. Hopefully, someone younger, who looks like me, can see me and my posts and that will inspire them to believe that they too can be in health care and that their health and their families health matters too.” In addition to speaking Spanish, Raymondi is also learning Hindi.
While most practitioners find time management to be a bit of a challenge, Raymondi hasn’t found this to be the case. She updates her page daily and is constantly coming up with contents for her Instagram stories as well as IGTV. While she reserves the more clinical information for her timeline, her Stories are the place she addresses industry-wide trending topics or run polls to see where her audience leans on a particular issue.
Now standing at 2,277 followers, New York Eye Doc has allowed Raymondi to connect with patients near and far. However, the most rewarding aspect of being online has been the fact that she is able to pay it forward. She’s especially connected with undergraduate students who have questions about optometry school.
“I’ve read a few personal statements and had great discussions on what I thought needed improvement versus what they thought needed improvement. The process allows me to question and audit myself and to come out more certain of what I know or learn something new. I have shared my own struggles during optometry school on the platform, because it’s not an easy time. It’s amazing and uplifting to hear from other’s who felt the same but felt like they couldn’t talk about it with anyone else,” she concluded.