Dr. Glaucomflecken Flanary
Your friendly, neighborhood internet comedian-ophthalmologist who promotes humanity in healthcare, social media advocacy, and a healthy sense of humor.
Dr. Glaucomflecken Flanary Bio
My mom kicked me out of her 6th-grade language arts class. For some reason, the powers that be thought it would be a good idea for my mom to teach her kid, who also happened to be the biggest class clown in school. It didn’t go well. I made one too many jokes, got sent to the principal’s office, and received a conduct report to be signed by my dad. There are two things I’ve always wanted to do in life: be a doctor and tell jokes.
I started as an amateur performing stand-up comedy in Houston, TX to sparsely attended comedy club open mics. Even as my pursuit of a medical career took me to the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, I continued to do stand-up comedy when I wasn’t learning the Krebs cycle or other things from med school that I don’t really remember. Comedy helped me through a cancer diagnosis during med school…and again during residency. Telling jokes enabled me to navigate the challenges of living as a cancer patient in my 20s. It was my coping mechanism.
As an ophthalmology resident, I started the “Dr. Glaucomflecken” account on Twitter, fresh off a second occurrence of testicular cancer. It allowed me to express frustration toward my genitals for having betrayed me and tell jokes about my life as a resident in ophthalmology. Over time, my audience grew. I continued making content through the pandemic, a sudden cardiac arrest, and dozens of reports of people sleeping in their contact lenses with disastrous consequences. My “Dr. Glaucomflecken” alter ego began as a creative outlet to tell painfully specific ophthalmology jokes and cope with my health challenges. Since then, my comedy has evolved to include satire of the US healthcare system, academic publishing, and the interpersonal conflicts pervasive in the medical system to an audience of millions.
I have given dozens of keynotes to some of the largest medical conferences in the US, including The American College of Emergency Physicians, The Society of Critical Care Medicine, and The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, and many more. I am frequently invited to deliver commencement addresses to medical schools around the country and have collaborated with some of the biggest names in medicine, from Dr. Mike to Dr. Eric Topol to US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.