Optometrist Dr. Arian Fartash, who founded the children’s eyecare line GlamBaby, here talks about what inspired her to start the company, as well as today’s most pressing issues in pediatric eye health.
Could you tell us a bit about your journey and what inspired you to start GlamBaby?
I am a second-generation optometrist. I realized I just love children — I love seeing them as patients, I love their perspective. And I started noticing that there are a lot of problems that can be prevented with kids. And with that prevention, they can grow to be adults that don’t have these eye problems.
These kids are going to be on tablets and using screens for the rest of their lives. What can we do to help them be less strained? There really isn’t really anyone or any kind of outlet for parents to hear about these things. We hear a lot about teeth, but what about the eyes?
So, I created glam baby as more of an educational tool, as well as a way to offer quality products to parents and kids for protection of the eyes in the early years. I have two kids of my own, and I started glam baby when I was nine months pregnant with my first daughter.
I wanted people to be able to get a product they trusted — not just something from the drugstore or the gas station that may look cute but doesn’t offer protection. These are both good-looking and functional, and because GlamBaby was created by a doctor, parents will know they’re getting something that truly is a trusted preventative product.
How has starting GlamBaby impacted your life?
In my personal life, I get a lot of joy of just being around these kids in my office. I had one client who told me that her baby’s tear duct was clogged, and she used the tear duct massager to successfully unclog it. Stories like that really inspire me and make me want to do more.
I want to continue spreading awareness that these products are out there. There is a problem and there is also a solution — it’s about the parents finding out what it is.
What advancements do you hope to see in the field of pediatric optometry?
I want to see even more educational tools for parents. I don’t think the eyecare world really has enough easily accessible info out there.
I would also love to see pediatricians talk more about eye health. Parents will take their child to the pediatrician multiple times a year when they’re really young, but may not ever know to see the eye doctor. So, I think it’s important for everyone to spread awareness about when children should get eye exams — the first one should be at 6 months, then annual exams should start at 4 years.
When you take your child to the pediatrician and they do a quick screening, that’s not an eye exam. There are a lot of things that are not caught at those types of screenings. But many parents don’t know this, which is why raising awareness is so important — it can help prevent future eye problems for kids.
What are the top five things parents should know about kids’ eye health?
1. Yearly eye exams. Interesting fact: Many kids who are diagnosed with learning disabilities don’t actually have them — they just need glasses or vision therapy. We can’t know how well a child sees until they get in to see their eye doctor, because they have no frame of reference of what seeing perfect is. That’s why my top priority is always to get your child to see an eyecare professional for an eye exam.
2. UV protection on all sides. Make sure whenever your kids are outdoors playing at the playground, or even in the car, to wear trusted UVA/UVB protected sunglasses. That will help prevent early cataracts, early macular degeneration, eye growth, and other things of that nature.
3. Limiting screen time. You want your child to take a break from the screen every 20 minutes. We call it the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, you look away at something else at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Basically, just take a break.
4. Blue light protection. We should start protecting our kids’ eyes now, because they’re going to be on these tablets and exposed to blue light for the rest of their lives. Starting early will help prevent health issues that could arise in the future, as well as sleeping problems.
5. Eye and Eyelid hygiene. There’s a pretty big buzz in the adult world right now about eyelid hygiene, and there should be that same fervor for kids as well. There are ways to help prevent pinkeye in school, there are ways to help your baby when their tear ducts are clogged.