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Institutes of Technology Ireland
Research & Innovation

Development of Novel Optical Lenses

Transitions Optical Ltd. was formed in 1990 as a joint venture by leading chemicals and coatings group, PPG Industries (USA) and one of the world’s largest lenses producers, Essilor International (France). It is a market leader in ophthalmic lenses and has manufacturing facilities on five continents. The Irish site in Tuam, Co. Galway is the manufacturing facility for Europe.

Transitions Optical Ltd. creates eyewear solutions that offer flexibility, while protecting the wearer’s eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. To date, the core product for the company has been photochromic ophthalmic lenses. These are lenses that become darker or lighter, depending on exposure to sunlight. They eliminate the need for prescription sunglasses when moving into sunlight.

Headed by Dr. Clement Higginbotham, the Materials Research Institute is based at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and is a leader in the development, synthesis and characterisation of novel polymer materials. Transitions Optical Ltd. collaborated with the Materials Research Institute to improve the process and materials used in the manufacture of their photochromic lenses. Using facilities and equipment available at AIT, researchers generated a polymeric material that has excellent photochromic properties combined with optimum protection from glare. Further process development work took the technology from laboratory scale to full equipment identification and sourcing. Industrial-scale trials were completed with equipment manufacturers. This allowed the researchers to prove the technology. The research was funded by Enterprise Ireland, initially through a Feasibility Study and later, through two Innovation Partnership projects. The results of the research are patent-protected. However, as a result of the collaboration, an employee of Transitions Optical who was involved in the research is now working towards a PhD based on the work carried out.

Testimonials

“The research work carried out during this project was technically challenging and involved the development of a new-to-the-world product. AIT have been critical in securing funding and assisting in the research required to move the project through the various stages, from a concept to the manufacture of a demonstrable lab sample through to the identification of a viable manufacturing process. The AIT team of 3 researchers working on the project were enthusiastic about the project at all stages and their innovation combined with their extensive experience with polymer technologies enabled us to develop this novel technology.”
David Park, Transitions Optical Ltd.

Client: Transitions Optical Ltd.
Institution:
Athlone Institute of Technology
Industry: Manufacturing
National Priority Area: Process Technology and Novel Materials

Industry Programmes Manager
Breda Lynch
Office of Research
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 648 3041
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Director, Materials Research Institute
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 642 4463
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.