Essilor announced this week the passing of Bernard Maitenaz, the inventor of the first Varilux progressive lens. Born in 1926, Maitenaz graduated from the Arts et Métiers engineering school in 1946 and the École Supérieure d’Optique the following year, before starting a career at the Société des Lunetiers that later changed its name to Essel. Frustrated by his father’s bifocals, he created the first Varilux progressive lens in 1959 at the age of 33, setting a new standard for the optical industry in the correction of presbyopia. He was one of the founders of Essilor when Essel and Silor merged in 1972, and was later appointed CEO of the new group from 1981. He steered Essilor through a decade of major international growth during which the company became the global leader in lenses. Maitenaz remained committed to the French group as honorary chairman of the board of directors, well after his retirement. He was also one of the founders of Valoptec, Essilor shareholders’ association. He died at the age of 94 in his hometown of Paris. More than 700 million Varilux lenses have been sold by Essilor since their creation in 1959.
Essilor released a tribute video that we are sharing here below: