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Engineer behind Varilux progressive dies aged 94

The inventor of the Essilor’s pioneering Varilux progressive lens has died in Paris at the age of 94.

Mr Bernard Maitenaz, a qualified engineer, was also one of the founders of Essilor Group.

EssilorLuxottica praised Maitenaz’s work that’s helped revolutionise the eyecare sector and millions of presbyopes. To date, more than 700 million Varilux lenses have been sold since 1959, the company said.

Frustrated with his father’s bifocals, and determined to improve his father’s life by improving his sight, Maitenaz was 33-years-old when he took on the task of creating the lens.

“His passion for optics, unwavering faith in its future and valuable contributions have made him one of the most iconic figures in the optical industry,” EssilorLuxottica stated.

Maitenaz was one of the founders of Essilor Group in 1972. At the helm of the company between 1981 and 1991, he oversaw a period of major international growth, which turned Essilor into one of the world’s leading lens manufacturers.

Today, Essilor’s Varilux range of lenses, spearheaded by the Varilux X Series, encompass more than 50 patents, with each individual lens incorporating up to 30 patents alone.

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