By Denis Langlois
Award-winning optometrist Dr. Harbir Sian says he’s amazed by how much he’s learning from the expert guests that appear on his The 20/20 Podcast.
“Although I started the podcast to share information with others, I quickly realized how much I was personally learning from every guest I interviewed,” the co-owner of Clarity Eyecare and Highstreet Eyecare Centre in British Columbia tells Optical Prism magazine.
“It has become a bit of an addiction. I can’t wait to see what new piece of wisdom I will glean from the next amazing guest. There is at least one thing from each episode that I have almost immediately implemented in either my practice or my personal life.”
Sian, the winner of the 2016 Young Optometrist of the Year award from the BC Doctors of Optometry, launched the website AboutMyEyes.com to help spread awareness about the importance of eye health.
He began The 20/20 Podcast in October 2019 and has chatted with experts from multiple professions and on a range of topics, including the power of Omega-3 for ocular health, dealing with dry eye, lenses to reduce the impact of light sensitivity and migraines, corporate social responsibility, creating a successful eye care practice and brand building.
Sian also creates patient-facing content through his video series Chiasma and For Your Eyes Only, which are also available at AboutMyEyes.com.
Recently, Optical Prism got the chance to speak with Dr. Sian about The 20/20 Podcast and his efforts to help inform eye care professionals and patients about optical and business-related topics.
Q. What motivated you to begin your 20/20 podcast series?
A. There were a few different aspects of my professional career that seemed to converge, which led me to finally put the podcast together. A couple of years earlier, I had launched my own eyewear brand (Oxford & Kin). As part of the marketing and promotion of that brand, I was regularly meeting interesting people (entrepreneurs, athletes, TV personalities and others) and getting to learn their stories. At the same time, I was connecting with students, new grads and young professionals on social media who were looking for advice. I thought the podcast would be the perfect way to bring these two groups of people together. By formally interviewing the successful people I met through O&K, I hoped to share their stories with those who were just beginning to build their success in our industry.
Q. What do you hope ECPs take away from your podcasts?
A. My goal is to inspire my friends and colleagues to think big and reach high. By listening to stories about struggles and successes from people in other industries, we realize that there are actually a lot of commonalities with what each of us is trying to build. Suddenly we see ourselves in the professional soccer player who grew up poor and eventually played for his country in the World Cup or the guy who rose up from an abusive childhood to become the head of a national financial company or the girls who turned their love of makeup into a global brand.
Q. What are your future plans for your podcast and video series?
A. I am looking forward to the continued growth of the podcast. I have all sorts of exciting guests lined up for future episodes. I have also started adding in shorter, more personal segments that I call Eye2Eye. In these quick episodes, I share some of the personal and professional experiences that have helped me grow in my career. I have also recently started creating short educational videos on Instagram called #30SecondEyeDoc. These super-short video bites are exactly what the name suggests, 30 seconds of easy-to-digest eye info for the modern attention span.
Q. Why do you feel it’s critical now to reach as many people as possible about eye health and eye care?
A. With the various disruptions, deregulations and challenges our industry has been facing, I believe it is incumbent upon us, as the professionals, to help our patients understand the landscape of our profession. Nelson Mandela said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. If we can educate the public on the importance of eye care and the value we bring as ECPs, we can help shape the future of our profession.
Q. Have you noticed an increase in viewership or online engagement during the covid-19 pandemic. If so, what do you attribute this to?
A. Yes, I definitely noticed a bump during COVID. I think we were all looking for new ways to stay connected, to learn and to stay sane. Social media, in general, provided the perfect platform for this.