How do patients use social media after cataract surgery?

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Patients rarely use social media, specifically Instagram, to document their experience after undergoing cataract surgery, however, ophthalmology professionals often use the platform to share patient testimonials and experiences, according to a poster presentation at the 2021 ASCRS Annual Meeting.

Between September 18, 2020 and October 1, 2020 the hashtags #cataract, #cataracts, #cataractsurgery, and #cataractsurgeon were used 183,156 on Instagram. The posts were analyzed to remove duplicates and any that were not related to the study focus.

Overall, ophthalmologists made 55% of the posts utilizing those hashtags, with eye institutions (22%), optometrists (8%), and corporations (5%) rounding out the top 4. Patients and students were each responsible for 2% of the posts. Most posts included photos (78%), with the remainder including graphics (13%) and videos (9%).

Just under half of all posts were considered educational (40%). Personal experience and patient experience posts accounted for 27% and 8%, respectively, and advertisements and self-promotional posts accounted for 13% and 8%, respectively.

When only posts made by ophthalmologists were included, educational content accounted for 39%, personal experience for 39%, self-promotional content for 11%, and patient experience for 5%.

“Social media is a powerful tool that ophthalmologists can use to provide cataract-related education to the general public,” the authors concluded.

Tom E, et al. Social Media and Cataract Surgery: An Analysis of Instagram Hashtags. Presented at: 2021 ASCRS Annual Meeting.

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