INNOVATION OF GLASSES LENSES 12
INNOVATIONOF GLASSES LENSES
B.SignificanceOf Glasses Lenses
C.Altered Characteristics Of The Glasses Lenses
D.Innovation of Glasses Lenses Theory
E.Factorsthat contribute to success glasses lenses innovation
G.Competitive marketing advantage between Essilor International S.Aand Walman Optical Company
Accordingto historians, the oldest glass lenses date back to 700 B.C. Themedieval Greeks and Romans used glass spheres filled with fresh wateras lenses. However, the primeval Mesopotamians and Egyptians usedpolished quartz in making lenses. The prehistoric Egyptians hadinvented glass prior to 700 B.C, and they manufactured gadgets thatresembled lenses, but they were used for decoration purposes. TheVaisheshikaand Samkhyaphilosophy schools of India developed the first light theoriesbetween fifth and sixth century B.C. The Samkhya School describedlight as “partof the subtle elements that make the gross elements (Sundbo1998, p. 16).” On the other hand, Vaisheshika School describedlight in relations to the Atomictheory (Trott2005, P. 8). Roger Bacon created the first magnifying glass lenses inthe thirteenth century using pieces of glass from a glass sphere. Hisinnovation was inspired by Alhacen’s tenth-century light theorythat asserted that light reflecting from objects does not getreleased. In addition, Bacon’s magnifying glass lenses was animproved version of the “reading stones” the monks had inventedbetween eleventh and thirteenth century. The monks used the stones inlighting manuscripts. The lenses were amateur plano-convex lensesthat were created through splitting a sphere glass by half (Trott2005, P. 11). Over time, the monks discovered that shallower lensesoffered higher quality magnification than thicker varieties. Thedevelopment of glass lenses began in 300 B.C, in Alexandria as theGreeks started developing deeper interest in science since geometrywas the most trending scientific topic. Since then, glasses lenseshave developed in many ways including relevance, design, color, andshape (Trott 2005, P. 16). The aim of this study is delving into theabundant scientific innovations and inventions in glass lenses overthe hundreds of years that have enabled humankind’s success invision correction and illumination.
SIGNIFICANCEOF GLASSES LENSES
Theglasses` lenses were valuable in the ancient societies as they wereused in correcting eyesight problems.From the eleventh century to the thirteenth century, the lenses wereassociated with scholars and monks. Individuals wore the glasses tocorrect vision problems. Scientists also found the glasses lensesessential in the observation and study of the atmosphere from theearth’s surface. During the fourteenth century, Emperor Hero ofRome watched the gladiator fights using the glasses lenses designedto focus light on a single point. Historians also assert that theglasses lenses were also used in starting fires on hearths (Trott2005, P. 42). Besides, they were also used in the treatment of woundsusing cautery.
ALTEREDCHARACTERISTICS OF THE GLASSES LENSES
Priorto the seventeenth century, glasses lenses were bulky hand-heldgadgets. However, both Edward Scarlett Junior and senior attempted todevelop the temple rims that hold contemporary spectacles in positionon the face between 1715 and 1730 unsuccessfully. Luckily, BenjaminFranklin perfected the temple attachments found in modern spectaclesfrom 1730 to 1740s. Franklin had vision problem, so he was determinedto create comfortable spectacles that he could wear throughout whenreading and walking (Adner 2012, p. 14). Previously, people using thetraditional glasses lenses had to clasp them at the front of theeyes, or balance them on the nose. The invention of the temple rimsimplied that scholars could multitask when reading with the glasslenses since the hands were free. Similarly, the hands-free glasseslens had to be lighter than the previous hand-held versions to avoidmaking the user’s temple uncomfortable. Several people startedusing the glasses lenses, thereby marking the beginning of commercialmanufacturing of eyeglasses lenses (Stamm 2003, p. 33).
In1784, Benjamin Franklin discovered the bi-focal lens. The eyeglasseswere composed of two convex glasses in each lens. Franklin made theupper section more complex since he intended to use it for focusingon far away projects. On the contrary, the convex lenses on the lowersection had less convex power than the upper. Its purpose wasfocusing on close objects such as reading. The bifocal spectaclescontained the temple rims hooked behind the year, and a metallicframe with two convex lenses. The innovation was helpful as a singlepair of eyeglass wear could serve as reading lenses, as well asdistance focusing aid (Adner 2012, p. 26).
In1913, Sir William Crookes invented lenses that could absorb the UVand infrared rays. The invention was valuable since the pilots andother persons working in direct sunlight required some form ofprotection from the hazardous rays. The successful discovery of thelenses led to the development of a lucrative sunglasses industry. Many manufacturers made sunglasses that were both fashionable andpractical (Adner 2012, p. 26).
In1730, Chester More Hall created the first achromatic lenses throughpairing glass lenses. One of the lenses was made from “flint”glass while the other was manufactured using “old crown glass.”The new achromatic glass lens helped in focusing the red and bluewavelengths on the same plane and at the same angle, therebyeliminating “unclear rainbow colors at the edges of an object”(chromaticaberration)(Stamm 2003, p. 49). The lenses are attached to each other such thatthey mutually neutralize chromatic aberrations. The key benefit ofthe discovery is that ithelpedin developing a clearer image to a viewer compared with the olderlens versions (Adner 2012, p. 26).
In1936, William Feinbloom designed the first contact lenses. Thedevices are thin glasses that are placed directly on the eye surface.Contact lenses became popular since they were comfortable andconvenient for sportspersons, such as football players looking tocorrect visual problems, as well as treating dyslexics. Nevertheless,producing contact lenses that could fit well on the client’s eyes,and remain comfortable was problematic (Sundbo 1998, p. 26).Fortunately, Czech ophthalmologists and chemists invented contactglasses lenses manufactured using plastic that could absorb water.The new version of contact glasses lenses is more comfortable to theuser than the older model. In addition, the moisture absorbent lensesare less vulnerable from Acanthamoeba, fungi and bacteria that werecommonly infecting persons using the non-moisture absorbent glasslenses (Stamm 2003, p. 40).
INNOVATIONOF GLASSES LENSES THEORY
Theadvancement in glasses lenses industry has been enhanced through thetheory of firm-specific knowledge.Independent researchers have discovered that heterogeneous andinnovative eyeglasses lenses have allowed the industry to sustainhigh competition advantage. For example, Benjamin Franklin discoveredthe temple extension that helps in holding the eyeglass lenses on auser’s face. In addition, William Feinbloom invented unique eyecontact lenses that increased the number of people who could use thelenses. For example, active sports players can wear contact lenseswhen playing because they have lower chances of getting broken thanthe traditional external framed spectacles (Beresford 1996, p. 24).
PaulTrott asserts that thediffusion theoryhas contributed significantly in the vast research on the glasseslenses. The philosophy claims that ideologies that gain momentum inthe market spreads in all directions of a social system, therebyattracting both new developers (for advancing the technology) andclients (for sustaining the demand). Several people have resolved touse glasses` lenses for various reasons ranging from cosmetics tovisual problems corrections (Trott 2005, P. 15). For example, manyHollywood celebrities do wear contact lenses in order to alter thecolor of their eyes while others wear the eyeglasses so that they canresemble their favorite celebrity icon.
Theindustrialeconomic theoryis another significant contributor towards the increased innovationof glasses` lenses. The theory claims that every time developers areascertained that their inventions have a ready market, and they aremotivated to dedicate more resources in the research and development.The market sizes for glasses’ lenses have been growing steadilyhence, developers are motivated to develop the lenses that will helpin maintaining high competition edge in the market (Sundbo 1998, p.26).
Theevolutionarytheory of innovationstates that a given product constantly changes in order to match thetaste and preferences of customers over time. For example, Feinbloomdesigned the eye contact lenses in 1996 after he realized that sportspersonality required small eyeglasses that they could wear whenplaying vigorous games such as soccer and football with no risk ofbreaking the glasses. Similarly, the contact lenses have found a bigcosmetic industry from users intending to enhance the appearance oftheir eyes (Kuratko 2009, p. 7).
FACTORSTHAT CONTRIBUTE TO SUCCESS GLASSES LENSES INNOVATION
Glasseslenses innovation has been successful because there are manyindependent researchers participating in the development process ofthe technology. For example, Doctor Joshua Silver, who is an atomicphysicist based in Oxford discovered self-adjusting eyeglasses in2011. He injected silicone gel between the glass lenses using asyringe. The user can either add or reduce the amount of siliconsandwiched between the lenses until he or she finds a desirable sightcorrection (Mittelstaedt 2005, P. 1).
Thepurpose of the glasses lenses applications has also diversifiedsignificantly. Some brands are designed using shatter-resistant glassthat offers protection to the wearer’s eyes from flying debris.People working in industries such as construction use distinctlyhardened eyewear glasses for protection from mobile debris. Othersoffer protection against harmful UV rays, as well as exposure of eyeswhen gambling. Gamblers wear dark eyeglasses for preventing theirrivals from collecting gaming tips from the appearance of their eyes(Kuratko 2009, p. 38). The swimmers, employees working in chemicalfactories, swimmers, and doctors treating patients with infectiousdiseases such as Ebola, among other professionals all weardiversified glasses lenses for protection purposes. Thediversification of the industry has enhanced its growth throughexpanding the market (Beresford 1996, p. 11).
By1900s, glasses lenses industry developed drastically in terms ofshape, structure, and color. New materials for constructing theeyeglasses became available. For example, the plastic manufacturedeyewear was more affordable than the varieties designed using metalframes. Besides, the eyewear has become a part of trending fashionfield, thus enhancing potential market for the eyeglass lenses(Kuratko 2009, p. 42).
Theinnovation of glasses lenses has remained marketable for manycenturies because the developers have been promoting the industry asa flexible and custom-tailored to suit the needs of every person.Several companies involved in manufacturing glass lenses developproducts that would suit match the needs of a big market. Forexample, The EssilorInternational S.ACompany has been manufacturing ophthalmic optical and ophthalmiclenses since1849. The organization is the manufacturers anddistributes “Varilux”. The company’s competitive advantage inthe market is relatively high compared by other organizations such asWalmanOptical Company(Payne 2003, p. 14).
COMPETITIVEMARKETING ADVANTAGE BETWEEN ESSILOR INTERNATIONAL S.A AND WALMANOPTICAL COMPANY
TheEssilorInternationalhas a competitive advantage over Walman Optical in that it hasmarkets its sales international. It has physical outlets in all thefive continents each country in the world. On the country, Walman hasfocused on marketing its products in the United States only. It hassale outlets in nineteen US states thus, its sales volume issignificantly lower than that of Essilor (Payne 2003, p. 19).
Second,Essilor Company has invested highly in research and development. Theeffort has yielded as the company is the leading ophthalmic lensesmanufacturer in the world. It offers a wide range of glass lensdesigned for various tasks such as correcting myopia and presbyopiaamong other critical eye conditions. Besides, the company doesmanufacture lenses intended for other functions such as protectionagainst UV rays, glass lenses for welders, extra-hardened lenses forprotecting eyes from debris on motion, and lenses for swimmers amongother functions. Walman offers a limited collection of fashionglasses lenses. The target market is mainly the fashion consciousindividuals in the United States. The Walman’s sales volume cannotmatch that of Essilor since its targets a limited market (Adner 2012,p. 17).
Third,Essilor Company manufacturers several glasses lenses thus itsproduction cost is low due to the economics of scales. The savingsare extended to the customer through reducing the cost of glasseslenses. On the contrary, Walman offers a limited option of glasseslenses thus, its eyeglasses retail at a significantly higher costthan that of Essilor. Since both companies offer high-qualityproducts, Essilor has better-competitive advantage because it offersa lower cost (Payne 2003, p. 58).
Lastly,Essilor International Company owns several reputed brands worldwidesuch as the Varilux. In addition, the company conducts jointworldwide communication through online platforms, posting newslettersto customers, online ads, giving gifts and using the conventionalmedia promotion strategies. Walman mainly depends on conventionalmedia marketing such as television advertising and internet marketing(Sundbo 1998, p. 16). The conventional media promotion is costly,while the online marketing plans reach a few local clients. Thisgives Essilor high competitive advantage that has helped theorganization in generating high return on investment (ROI) (Adner2012, p. 25).
EssilorInternational organization has managed to survive in the glass lensesindustry for more than a century due to strong promotion campaigns.The company has also patented its glasses lenses to prevent thecompeting companies from plagiarizing its brands, style, or any otherproprietary information that has helped the company to operatesteadily for so many years (Beresford 1996, p. 22).
Insummary, the humankind has significantly succeeded in developingtechnologically advanced glasses lenses. Originally, the lenses wereintended to correct eyesight, but the latest varieties are designedto accomplish a variety of purposes such as UV protection, shieldingthe eye from sustaining injuries from flying debris, as well ascosmetic purposes among other others. The latest glasses lenses arelighter, safer, and offer clearer vision than the lenses that weremanufactured five decades ago. Besides, the clients can choose from awide range of glasses lenses. The most popular method innovation ofglasses lenses spread from one person to another was throughdiffusion theory. People often started wearing the glasses lensesbecause their icons or friends were using them.
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