Behind the brand

A legacy of innovation

Head of professional affairs at Alcon, Jonathon Bench, discusses partnering with practitioners, reducing the company’s environmental footprint and innovating beyond products

Lady having a sight test

Can you tell me three interesting facts about the company?

  1. Alcon is the global leader in eye care dedicated to helping people see brilliantly. With 70-plus-year heritage, Alcon is the largest eye care device company in the world with complementary businesses in vision care and the surgical sector
  2. Alcon’s innovation pipeline has never been stronger. We are committed to continuing to be among the market leaders in eye care research and development investment, with plans to invest more than $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in the next five years
  3. In contact lenses, we have global reach with key brands across the daily disposable, reusable and cosmetic categories. Our Dailies Total1 family of products, super premium daily disposable contact lenses, are the first and only daily disposable contact lenses to offer water gradient material technology and are the only contact lens in the daily silicone hydrogel category to achieve highest retention rates of 91% in the UK.

What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?

For Alcon UK, we have three focus areas:

First, we want to partner with eye care professionals to build their practice and improve patient experience. We know contact lenses remain underpenetrated (approximately 4% globally and 14% in the UK) and daily disposable wear is still relatively low. We will support overall awareness of contact lenses with a call to action to visit an optician for fitting.

We will also help them retain contact lens wearers getting to the age of presbyopia more easily with the expansion of our Dailies Total1 family of products now available in multifocal.

For the dry eye category, there is an immense opportunity for opticians in this space. Demand for dry eye products is increasing due to longer life span expectancy and ageing populations, evolving patterns of work and play, and more sophisticated diagnostic tools. We will continue our roll out of Systane Complete, leverage our number one position in dry eye globally and expand consumer education with investments in direct-to-consumer marketing.

What external factors is the company taking into account when planning for the future, and why?

Alcon is committed to reducing our environmental footprint. Our ambition is to generate no adverse effects on water quality and water depletion from our sites and products. Our aim is to use raw materials as efficiently as possible and to manufacture our products in a way that minimises waste. In 2017, we reduced non-recycled hazardous waste by 92% and recycled 79% of all operational waste generated.

Our aim is to use raw materials as efficiently as possible and to manufacture our products in a way that minimises waste


Are there any new products in development that customers should be aware of?

We are accelerating innovation with a strong pipeline of products to address specific patient needs. This includes offering our renowned Dailies Total1 for astigmatic patients, presenting the next generation silicone hydrogel lens, novel designs for presbyopia correction and expanding adjacent areas of dry eye.

What does the future of the contact lens market look like?

The future is exciting for the contact lens market. We will be innovating in new spaces and developing new business models that will create better user experience for eye care professionals and patients. Alcon has a strong legacy of innovation; however, the legacy that made us successful in the past versus the legacy that will define our future will be very different. The legacy that will define our future means that we need to innovate beyond products. The world is changing and the world of vision care is changing. We are not immune from being disrupted. The path to purchase is rapidly evolving; it is now truly omni-channel with the combination of a visit to an eye care professional, being digitally enabled to arrange appointments, to seek information and guidance on products.