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Innovation

Driven by our purpose of helping people see brilliantly, we transform eye care possibilities into therapeutic realities through the discovery and development of innovative eye care products and treatments.

 

Sight Matters

We are dedicated to helping people see brilliantly by offering the widest array of eye care and eye health offerings with products that can treat the entire eye at each stage of life.

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Have Presbyopia1

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What Causes Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to actively focus on close objects. It occurs with the natural course of aging – generally starting around the age of 40 – and requires some form of vision correction to deal with its effect.

 

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People are Blind from Cataracts2

 

What Causes Cataracts

Most cataracts develop from advanced aging.3 As the body ages, the lens of the eye, which consists of water and protein, can become cloudy due to protein clumping together, scattering the light landing on the retina and causing visual impairment. When the cataract blocks light, vision is disrupted.4

 

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Have Uncorrected Refractive Errors2

 

The Burden of Uncorrected Refractive Errors

More than 12.8 million children globally, ages 5 to 15, are visually impaired due to uncorrected refractive errors as a result of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism – conditions which, with a simple eye exam, can be treated with contact lenses or surgical procedure.5

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Living with Dry Eye6

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What Causes Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are caused by a lack of sufficient moisture in the eyes because of an inadequate quality or quantity of tears.7 If the eyes are not lubricated enough, either by low quantity or poor quality of tears, it causes discomfort and leads to irritation.

Experience Our Range of Products

As the largest eye care devices company in the world, Alcon has a wide array of offerings within vision care and ophthalmic surgery. Explore each category for information about our range of products and other resources.

Contact Lenses & Solutions

Contact lenses are a way to get clear vision while having the freedom and flexibility to move in many environments. Find the right contact lenses and contact lens solution for your vision and lifestyle needs.

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Eye Care Products

Discover products for all aspects of vision care. From dry eyes to eye allergies, find relief or manage your eye health with our eye care products.

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Cataracts

Cataracts occur when protein accumulates in the lens of the eye, resulting in blurred or hazy vision. Cataracts are a common and natural part of aging, but there are many options for addressing cataracts, along with improved vision.

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LASIK

LASIK, or laser eye surgery, is a procedure to treat common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK can help to reduce their dependency on glasses or contact lenses, and in some cases eliminate their dependency entirely.

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Refractive Technology

Refractive Technology is used in corrective eye surgery of refractive errors like hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism and presbyopia. Find advanced tools and devices to meet the requirements of both your therapeutic procedures and your patients.

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Vitreoretinal Surgery

Vitreoretinal surgery restores, preserves and enhances vision for eye conditions affecting the retina, macula and vitreous fluid. Explore the most comprehensive portfolio of innovative ophthalmic surgical products to achieve optimal results.

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Looking Ahead: Expanding Access to Eye Care
Q&A with Paul Delatore, Vice President & Global Head, Market Access
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What are the biggest shifts you’ve witnessed in eye care during the past year?

The most obvious was the launch and adoption of innovative next-generation technology in cataract treatment, the change in patient flow (due to COVID safety concerns and protocols) and the increased interest in digital enablement of eye care professional (ECP) offices. Despite the disruptions in cataract surgery due to the pandemic, we continued engaging with ECPs and innovating for patients in an enhanced digital world. As telemedicine boomed, more than 6,000% in the U.S., we also saw an opportunity for heightened connectivity and efficiency to streamline care, access data and help improve patient outcomes.

How will the renewed emphasis on science, health and wellbeing impact the industry and market going forward? 

I believe the challenge—and opportunity—going forward will be twofold: Expanding patient access and expanding patient choice. We must have a range of innovation and cost options available to accelerate treatment to market and get people open and able to adopt new solutions. For example, certain cataract patients want the most innovative advanced technology intraocular lenses (AT-IOLs) while others might do fine with the latest monofocal lens technologies. This will continue to be a tremendous opportunity for Alcon.

What are you most proud of from Alcon’s Market Access team?

I am proud of how the team persevered, quickly adapting new ways of working and executing against our strategic objectives during this pandemic. In the most challenging of times, we mobilized quickly to support Alcon’s essential workers, as well as our customers and their patients. Our Market Access & Reimbursement Services (MARS) team played a critical role in providing government and administrative aid resources for financial assistance to customers in the U.S. With dedicated assistance, our team has also supported customers with coding and billing for telehealth services and access to answer all questions regarding reimbursement for our products. From a HEOR (health economics & outcomes research) and strategic pricing perspective, we found ways to accelerate research, special projects, and programs that allowed us to lead the industry during these challenging times.

What do you believe is the responsibility of Alcon—and all health care companies—going forward?

Earning trust is a mandate for all companies today. Strong relationships are built by having a high degree of transparency and credibility in how and what we bring to market. Increasingly, the expectation will be evidence-based and differentiated value that health care decision makers and patients can confidently embrace. Also, we are responsible for developing best in class innovation. As the industry leader, we have the opportunity to set the standard. Patients depend on Alcon to identify, operate and innovate with integrity. We must consistently deliver excellence through the value we create to help people see brilliantly.

25 Years of Refractive Surgery Innovation with WaveLight
Each year, millions of patients undergo refractive surgery – often referred to as laser vision correction. It’s a procedure in which an eye doctor uses a laser beam to reshape the surface of the eye, making it more effective at focusing light and ultimately leading to better vision.
Today, we celebrate a quarter of a century of helping people see brilliantly through many groundbreaking innovations by the Alcon subsidiary WaveLight® GmbH.
Since WaveLight’s founding in 1996, our research has focused on high-end laser systems and diagnostic solutions. In 2000, WaveLight introduced the world’s first 200 Hz excimer laser for refractive surgery. By 2003, WaveLight became the first European manufacturer to receive US FDA approval. These accomplishments, coupled with the ability to design a refractive laser system that combined precision, speed and quality, quickly established WaveLight as a global market and technology leader and a favorite among ophthalmologists. Today, the WaveLight portfolio includes the most modern excimer and femtosecond lasers, which are supplemented by a comprehensive range of surgical-diagnostic devices. All systems are connected by a specially developed computer network.
“Having performed more than 40,000 laser treatments with WaveLight lasers, I continue to be impressed by this technology,” says Dr. Arthur Cummings, one of the first users of the WaveLight devices and technology.
The WaveLight refractive portfolio focuses on the best possible visual outcomes for our patients and makes a decisive contribution to the development of new technologies worldwide. For example, our eye-tracking systems, which follow eye movements during the LASIK procedure to direct the laser pulses precisely to the right place, are a staple component of modern eye lasers.
We look forward to the next twenty-five years of continuous advancement and innovation and taking refractive surgery to the next level to help people see brilliantly!
© 2021 Alcon Inc. 4/21 GLB-WLO-2100001
 

 
30th Anniversary of the First Implantation of the AcrySof® IOL
December 14th 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the first implantation of the AcrySof® IOL. Dr. Richard Packard, based in the UK, was the first surgeon in the world to implant the lens.
To date, there have been more than 125 million implants of the AcrySof® lens making it the most implanted cataract replacement lens in the world for cataract patients.
Over the years, Alcon has continued to evolve the lens with upgrades and advancements, now offering the most comprehensive, best-in-class family of IOLs for cataract patients in the world.

Erich Bauman and the Art of Breakthrough Collaboration
Collaboration that leads to real breakthroughs isn’t just getting people in a room together.
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Collaboration that leads to real breakthroughs isn’t just getting people in a room together. It’s trust. It’s respect. It’s culture. That’s what Erich Bauman has proven time and again through leadership that led to industry-changing launches like DAILIES TOTAL1®, PRECISION1® and, soon, TOTAL30®.

A Love of Knowledge

Erich started out as a third generation optometrist and after having run at private practice for a number of years, fell into life-long love with contact lens research.

His almost 40 year industry career has seen him around the world, from Germany, working to bring to life the daily disposables business, to Global Head of Marketing out of Atlanta, to GM of CIBA Vision Benelux, travelling between Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to Senior Director of R&D Project Leadership–just to name a few. Along the way, he picked up not only an MBA, but also a Masters in Religious Studies.

Tomorrow: TOTAL30

Today, Erich finds himself on the cusp of the upcoming TOTAL30 launch, a novel lens that Alcon plans to introduce this year. “One of the most exciting things about this product is the biomimicry,” says Erich. “It’s true innovation in chemistry and process–like nothing that’s already been on the shelf.”

The team overcame not only major chemistry challenges like surface durability and lens care preservative uptake, but also a new way of collaborating brought on by Covid-19. “I am full of gratitude and humility because I didn’t drive the whole thing. We have a community of truly gifted, talented engineers.” He describes it like a symphony of great musicians. Woodwinds, drums, strings–all experts in their own instruments–just waiting to get the band back together.

What’s the Secret?

Other than his own deep, well-rounded institutional knowledge, what’s the secret to orchestrating breakthroughs like T30? Erich says there’s no checklist of things you do. There’s a checklist of things you are. And that means modeling a culture that nurtures true innovation.

Characteristics of Innovative Culture

“Collaboration, passion and trust can sound clichéd, but that’s what I see: a team of people solving problems six time zones apart from Germany to Atlanta.”

Collaboration

“We recognize teams more than individuals.” When team members come to work, they leave their ego at the door. “No one individual can do the things that we've accomplished, it's all an enormous team effort. It’s not just the hard skills, but it's seeing people manifest their talents and skills collectively, like an orchestra.”

Diversity also brings a well-rounded perspective to the team. “Working with people from different cultures is exciting.” Erich points out that Alcon was inclusive long before “inclusive” was a thing.

“If you’re intelligent, it doesn't matter whether there's a ‘Miss; or ‘Mrs.’ or ‘Mr.’ in front of your name, what clothes you wear, or the color of your skin.”

Passion

It was through a lot of passion that, ultimately, TOTAL30 was possible. We have many gifted scientists, but those exist elsewhere too. What made the difference for Alcon was these people had not just a great mind, but a huge heart for solving problems.

And while scientific advancement is important in its own right, the drive to problem solve is rooted in something much deeper. The motivation? Helping people see. “There’s a lot of passion in knowing that there's a need out in the marketplace and that you just have to keep going at it and solve so that people are able to see the world.”

“Just stop to think: in the 24 hours it takes the earth to rotate one time, some seven million people will have woken up and put on lenses that your team developed and their lives will be better for it.”

Trust

 “For every successful product in the market, I could tell you a project that failed,” Erich says as he explains that trust is a huge part of creating something new and different. “That’s research, you know. If we’re not failing at some things, we're probably not stretching ourselves.” For example, “Our knowledge about water surface chemistry is what distinguishes Alcon’s contact lenses today, but this wouldn’t have happened without the failure of our early efforts.”

“Alcon has created a culture where people can become themselves through their own artistry with chemistry or engineering.”

Erich explains how the trust in one another’s experimentation works, “Make a couple of lenses, find five people, test them, see what doesn't work, go back, change something, try it again and just keep going through these rapid prototyping, iterative steps until you find the solution that breaks through.”

Erich’s love of learning and knowledge has served him–and all of Alcon–well. But for someone with quite a few letters behind his name, Erich isn’t much for titles. “I’m one cell in a tissue or bone in a skeleton.”

Praise for his team always comes first, especially as TOTAL30 takes its place among Alcon’s top scientific achievements. “I believe the launch will be like opening day at the Metropolitan, where the symphony orchestra comes together and makes really great music.”

Congratulations to Erich, as he was recently presented the 2021 British Contact Lens Association Industry Award, alongside John Pruitt, for their team’s work on developing water gradient technology.

Through the process of knowledge sharing, education and networking, BCLA brings expertise from the world of academia and research into the world of the Eye Health Professionals, for the benefit of patients.

External Innovation Opportunities

Alcon Research Institute

Partnerships

The task of increasing quality eye care for the world’s underserved patients comes with many challenges. Many of the organizations and programs we fund are overcoming these challenges with novel approaches to problems. For example, through our support and partnership with SightLife, the Eye Donation Counselor program established in hospitals in India is enabling cornea transplant surgeries that might not have been possible otherwise.

References

  1. Global Prevalence of Presbyopia and Vision Impairment, 2018 Oct;125(10):1492-1499. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha
  2. World Health Organization (WHO), www.who.int/blindness
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmolgoy. What are Cataracts. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-are-cataracts [Accessed March 2019].
  4. Web MD. A Visual Guide to Cataracts. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/cataracts/ss/slideshow-cataracts [Accessed March 2019].
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information, Global magnitude of visual impairment caused by uncorrected refractive errors in 2004. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647357/[Accessed March 2019]
  6. Epi Database. Kantar Health. June 2015. Custom Dry Eye Self-Reported Prevalence ages 40+, 16 markets
  7. National Eye Institute. Facts About Dry Eye. https://nei.nih.gov/health/dryeye/dryeye [Accessed March 2019].
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