Euromonitor International discusses some major eyewear innovations which caught the eye in 2011.
Frames without lenses
Excluding sunglasses, spectacles have historically been used primarily as agents of vision correction, be it for myopia or other defects. The healthy growth of contact lenses in fact largely stems from handling and beauty concerns associated with spectacles. However, substantial eyewear markets in Asia – most notably Hong Kong and China – have seen the re-emergence of 'lensless spectacles' as a fashion accessory. This fashion statement has been supported by the freedom to wear long artificial eyelashes, lighter frames and fog-free spectacles, with several visually-impaired consumers having been persuaded to wear lensless spectacles along with their prescribed contact lenses.
3-D technology and eye health
In order to have concentrated research on the performance of the human eye when faced with electronic 3D displays, the Pacific University at Beaverton, Oregon set up a 3D Performance Eye Clinic in October 2011. Over 2011, an increasing number of medical experts and institutions raised concerns over the use of such technology in the education, sports and entertainment industries as 3D displays are believed to be a cause of eye strain and headaches for many consumers.
Sunglass Hut: 'Store on the water'
Sunglass Hut introduced a new touch to its branded retail chain in November when it launched a floating pop-up store which is touring various ports in Australia. This premium retail destination, christened Neptune, is equipped with transparent floors, a DJ booth and the latest models on offer from the retail chain.
Essilor introduces 'Optifog'
Essilor International's US entity launched a new anti-fog technology for eye glasses in September. The 'Optifog lens' must be topped with a drop of 'Optifog Activator' applied on each side of the lens, and the combination helps lenses remain fog-free for a week.
Adjustable power for your spectacles
UK-based Adlens started marketing a novel concept in 2011 - adjustable power spectacles. The lenses of these 'Emergensee' glasses comprise two movable parts which can slide over each other to achieve the desired power. For this purpose, the frame is equipped with manual screws at the sides. Although the concept will limit visits to the optician if marketed to the mass consumer, it is presently positioned as an emergency product which can be used by an entire family, for example following a natural disaster. Adlens started marketing 'Emergensee' in Japan in 2011 and hopes to introduce the product for mass consumers as well as automated variants of the present product in the near future.