Exeter Science Park has this month welcomed its latest tenant – an innovator in the production of spectacles – Exeter Eyewear.
Established by Rob Barrow, the company creates custom designed fitting aids and spectacles for children and young people who are unable to wear standard fitting glasses, whether that is due to their age, or because they have a disability.
And Rob and his team will be using their new offices at Exeter Science Park to research and develop new innovative products.
Exeter Eyewear is the distribution arm of Rob’s company Spec-Care Ltd and was established as a legacy project to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS, after Spec-Care was recognised by the Parliamentary Trust to represent optical providers at the NHS 75th birthday celebrations in 2023.
Rob said: “We’re very excited to move to Exeter Science Park. The idea of being around like-minded businesses is very appealing as we research and develop new products through Exeter Eyewear focused on innovation, quality and service.”
The company develops spectacles using novel materials, such as polyamides which are resistant to alcohol cleaners and adaptable. Frames are specially designed and, unusually for the providers of children’s eyewear, the company offers a guarantee for its products against accidental damage.
From tiny spectacles for babies, created with silicone and fitted with a soft headstrap, to pairs without metal and all with special adaptations. Rob also makes use of 3D printing to dispense his frames.
Included in the company’s innovative designs are spectacles designed for people with ptosis or blepharotis, where the upper eyelid droops over the eye, sometimes to such an extent that is covers the pupil, blocking normal vision. Specially adapted glasses created by Exeter Eyewear feature small springs, or frames to keep the eyelid raised above the eye.
Rob, who is qualified with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM), Freeman of the City of London and qualified Optical Technician (SMCtech), has a vision to bring value and quality to the development of children’s spectacles.
Exeter Eyewear will be built upon industry collaborations and partnerships, bringing more sustainable supply chains and materials to the sector.
He says: “Development in children’s spectacles has been far behind that of adult’s vision. With increased screen time we are experiencing high prevalence of myopia in young people, this is mainly attributed to long periods of screen time. Lenses to assist myopia management are now meeting the market demand. However, the spectacles frame has not been innovated to match this advance in visual correction lenses.
“Our developments have already been recognised by one of the country’s largest lens manufacturers and they have adopted our first ranges of frames as a specific match to their product developments.”
Jason Buck, Senior Business Development Manager at Exeter Science Park, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Exeter Eyewear to Exeter Science Park. This company is doing some amazing innovative work which is bringing great benefit to young people. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of their work here and with collaboration being an important part of the R&D work, Exeter Science Park is the perfect location for them.”