William Flanary, a former University of Iowa ophthalmologist, went viral on the TikTok social media platform for making comedy videos about medical life.
A doctor who graduated from the University of Iowa Health Care with a degree in ophthalmology became famous on TikTok for making comedy videos about his work in the medical field.
William Flanary or Dr. Glaucoma spots gained over 300,000 followers on TikTok by creating these comedy videos.
Flanary graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree before entering Dartmouth College for medical school and completing residency at UI hospitals and clinics. He currently works at EyeHealth Northwest in Portland, Oregon.
Flanary said he started doing TikToks in April 2020, but he had previously made comedy posts on Twitter. He came to TikTok when he felt like he’d done everything he could on Twitter, he said.
“I feel like there’s just so much you can do on Twitter alone,” Flanary said. “And then came TikTok. So I tried it and I loved it because it allowed me to use my comedy in a different way. “
Flanary is an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in eye care. Although this is his specialty, he said his TikToks focus on medicine as a whole, not just his specialty.
“I didn’t want to just stick to ophthalmology because it’s such a small field,” Flanary said. “I like to do it this way instead of focusing on my own specialty because it helps me reach a larger audience. I like giving people an outlet and helping them laugh at a difficult time. It’s nice to be able to do that for all of medicine and not just my tiny area. “
Flanary hopes his TikToks can make people laugh and help medical school students realize that being a doctor can be fun. He said there are people in the business who are kidding and having a good time doing their job.
“It helps people who are already looking to get into medicine and are already on that path,” Flanary said. “It helps them feel better because they see there are doctors out there who are having fun and enjoying the medicine.”
Lucas Lenci, an ophthalmologist who has also completed his residency at UI and is a good friend of Flanary, said Flanary has the gift of making often difficult and sad situations more joyful with his comedy.
“He cares about making a difference, but he also does it in a way that makes it comfortable,” Lenci said. “He has such brevity and when you add some of that comedy and that funny aspect to what you do it makes the tough times a lot easier.”
Lenci said seeing the fun and light-hearted side of any profession in general, including the medical field, will naturally make people interested in it.
UI freshman Jenna Girard, well on her way to medical school, believes these TikToks will not only serve as consolation for medical students, but will also help inspire the next generation of doctors.
“I think the media often portrays medicine as impossible,” said Girard. “I haven’t done that yet, but I think watching these TikToks shows you that there are different specialties and different ways to get there. It shows that you don’t have to be the best student. Of course you have to work for it and want it, but it’s not impossible. “