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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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Getting to Know Shu Zong, the Engineer Who Helps People See Brilliantly
Shu Zong, Ph.D., Vice President, Development for Vision Care R&D and General Manager, Vision Care R&D Germany
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Photo taken in 2019. Pictured from left to right: Andy Pawson, George Yao, Shu Zong

The innovation pipeline at Alcon originates with our people. We look to them for ideas, collaboration and persistence to bring something new into the world. And not just anything new – products that make a difference in people’s lives.

Shu Zong has pushed the innovation envelope for decades at Alcon. His latest success was the engineering of the manufacturing technology that made PRECISION1® possible.

Shu’s career began in Germany. When pursuing his Ph.D. degree in engineering, he dreamed of space robotics and even worked in robotic research for the European space shuttle Hermes. Eventually, a recruiter brought Shu to CIBA Vision, a company that merged with Alcon. And that was 25 years ago.

In his early Alcon career, Shu was part of a major R&D program to develop Lightstream technology, the manufacturing platform behind DAILIES® contact lenses. In 1998, after achieving a great deal of success, Shu was sent on a new mission: Take a team of German engineers, and start a second production plant of DAILIES contact lenses in Johns Creek, Georgia. Since the DAILIES lines were the main installations at the new facility, Shu was dubbed the “Godfather of Johns Creek Manufacturing,” and it still holds a special place in his heart.

Most recently, Alcon was looking for a R&D leader to manage one of the toughest technical challenges ever at Alcon – the possibility of a flexible manufacturing platform. The vision was to create a contact lens manufacturing process that is modular and easily interchangeable rather than limited to a dedicated single lens design. Alcon turned to Shu.

Along with his team in R&D, Shu developed this truly innovative technology to manufacture PRECISION1 contact lenses. Now, as Alcon develops another novel contact lens, the same flexible manufacturing lines are being used to produce it. This flexible manufacturing platform and rapid new lens development have given Alcon impressive efficiency that’s unique in the industry.

But, as Shu puts it, it’s more than that.

“In Alcon I have been able to work on things meaningful and impactful, which is very satisfying. R&D is all about innovation and pioneering – new designs, new processes, new products. It’s a strong engine which propels the business forward.”

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.
 

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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