Bernard Maitenaz

Apollo Award

Bernard Maitenaz

Bernard Maitenaz, of Paris, France, is the recipient of the 2014 Apollo Award, the highest award presented to the general public by the AOA. It honors individuals or organizations for distinguished service to the visual welfare of the public.  

Maitenaz graduated with degrees in engineering from Arts et Métiers in 1946 and École Supérieure d'Optique in 1947. With an educational background in optical science and engineering, Maitenaz has made a significant impact on the optometric profession by inventing the Varilux lens. In 2012 alone, 20 million progressive addition lenses were prescribed and dispensed in the United States.  

For his tremendous contribution to the field of vision science, Maitenaz achieved significant stature in numerous areas of research and technology.  He served as a board member of the National School of Mechanical Engineers, as well as an advisor for Technical Education to the French Ministry of Education and president of the CNPF Committee of Research and Innovation.  

Maitenaz worked at Essilor for 43 years and served as chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chairman of the company. With the help of his leadership, Essilor grew to become one of the largest optical lens manufacturers in the world.  

Maitenaz is also an educator and has taught optical engineering at the Institute of Optics in Paris and the University of Paris-South. He's also an advisor to the French "Enseignement Technique" and a board member of the "Villette-Enterprises Foundation" and the "Inist-Diffusion" (CNRS).  

Maitenaz has received numerous accolades for his contributions to optometry, including an honorary doctorate of ocular science from the New England College of Optometry and an honorary doctorate from the School of Optometry of the Université de Montréal.