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Hannah Morrison has been awarded the $10,000 Optometry Cares 2023 Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship. To compete for the scholarship, the UAB School of Optometry student created a social media toolkit about the importance of comprehensive eye exams for children beginning at six months of age.

Her interest in the topic was piqued during pediatrics clinic rotations, where she learned the importance of early and often eye exams to prevent eye conditions such as amblyopia and strabismus.

Morrison’s toolkit includes a two-minute video along with templates for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The toolkit designs incorporate a superhero theme, and the message conveys that having good vision is a superpower. Optometry Cares (the American Optometric Association foundation) and EssilorLuxottica will share these resources on their social media platforms.

“The hashtagIG Story 1 I created, #supersight, was important to me because I wanted children to see their glasses as empowering and as a source of confidence,” Morrison said. “My hope is that through my video and social media toolkit that glasses will be seen as ‘cool’ and normal, allowing children and their parents to see the benefits of wearing glasses. Superheroes are seen as being powerful, and my hope is that glasses and clear vision can be seen as the same.”

The class of 2024 student applied for the scholarship because of her natural love for photography, videography, and an appreciation for the positive impact that social media can have.

“I felt that this scholarship was a great opportunity for me to incorporate all three areas into one and utilize those skills to promote something positive,” she said.

Currently, Morrison has a social media account (@hannie.opt) dedicated to documenting her optometry school experience. Once she becomes an optometrist, she will continue using social media to enhance her career.

“I hope social media can be a place where I can connect with my patients, and they can have easy access to knowledge about eye health,” she said. “I also hope that social media can be a place where I can promote a future practice and be able to grow professionally.”