BOSTON, May 31, 2008 – Reactive Innovations, LLC was awarded a contract from the Centers for Disease Control to continue its development of a new line of scratch resistant, self-cleaning, and anti-fog eyewear to protect citrus crop workers. The US Department of Health and Human Services in cooperation with the Partnership for Citrus Worker Health have identified an urgent need for improved protective eyewear for citrus workers. Studies of serious occupational eye injuries have demonstrated that safety glasses would prevent the majority of injuries if used. However, worker acceptance is low primarily because current safety eyewear is poorly suited for harvesting citrus in hot, humid conditions. The specific drawbacks of available safety eyewear are that the lenses do not provide the required combination of scratch resistance, self-cleaning capability, and anti-fog characteristics. To address these needs, Reactive Innovations, LLC with its teaming partners Neo-Advent Technologies, Bacou-Dalloz Eye & Face Protection, and the Partnership for Citrus Worker Health at the University of South Florida have demonstrated a superior coating for protective eyewear in a prior program for the CDC that exhibited scratch resistance and anti-fog properties. This team will be further developing this eyewear coating focusing on improving the coating properties for anti-fog, scratch resistance, and self-cleaning capabilities. To help guide the coating development process toward a commercial product, the team will be conducting field evaluations of the coated eyewear to ensure its acceptability by citrus workers.
Other potential commercial applications of this technology include Rx lens manufacturers, food-packaging developers and suppliers of automotive glass for windshields and mirrors. The Rx lens market represents more than $3 Billion in sales each year. This improved coating technology could revolutionize the transparent substrate marketplace.