This paper consists of two parts - review and extension. The review part deals with typical fiber optics structures (bare, single- and dual-coated fibers; fibers experiencing low temperature micro-bending; fibers soldered into ferrules or adhesively bonded into capillaries; role of the non-linear stress-strain relationship, etc.) subjected to thermally induced and/or mechanical loading in bending, tension, compression, or to various combinations of such loadings. The emphasis is on the state-of-the-art in the area of optical fiber coatings and the functional (optical), mechanical and environmental problems that occur in polymer-coated or metallized fibers. The solutions to the examined problems are obtained using analytical methods (predictive models) of structural mechanics. The review is based primarily on the author's research conducted at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, during his eighteen years tenure with this company. The extension part addresses a new generation of optical fiber coatings and deals with the application of a newly developed (by the ERS/Siloptix Co.) nano-particle material (NPM) that is used as an attractive substitute for the existing optical fiber coatings. This NPM-based coating has all the merits of polymer and metal coatings, but is free of their shortcomings. The developed material is an unconventional inhomogeneous "smart" composite material, which is equivalent to a homogeneous material with the following major properties: low Young's modulus, immunity to corrosion, good-to-excellent adhesion to adjacent material(s), non-volatile, stable properties at temperature extremes (from -220°C to +350°C), very long (practically infinite) lifetime, "active" hydrophobicity - the material provides a moisture barrier (to both water and water vapor), and, if necessary, can even "wick" moisture away from the contact surface; ability for "self-healing" and "healing": the NPM is able to restore its own dimensions, when damaged, and is able to fill existing or developed defects (cracks and other "imperfections") in contacted surfaces; very low (near unity) effective refractive index (if needed). NPM can be designed, depending on the application, to enhance those properties most important. NPM properties have been confirmed through testing. The tests have demonstrated the outstanding mechanical reliability, extraordinary environmental durability and, in particular applications, improved optical performance of the light guide.