© 2015 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. The performance of optical devices is dependent on their optical transparency (OT). This is evident when such devices are exposed to environmental conditions that can reduce OT. The development of a robust, transparent and self-cleaning coating is highly desirable, for applications likeoptical windows and solar panels. This work reports the design of such coatings based on a hydrophobic thin film fabricated using a sol-gel process. Coating properties were optimised by modification of the surface topography of the coatings, achieved by the incorporation of silica nanoparticles(NPs). The coating was characterised by water contact angle(WCA), scanning electron microscopy(SEM) and white light interferometry (WLI). The efficacy and robustness of the coating foroptical application was assessed.