Ciba Vision, Acuvue and Bausch & Lomb Contact Lenses – A Three Way Battle For the Future


Bausch & Lomb Contact lenses have long been one of the most recognised names in optical care. However, the market is becoming more difficult all the time. Countless firms now have entered the market. They offer all sorts of different products, but the main battle remains between the company’s long term rivals Acuvue and Ciba vision. As they struggle for control of innovative new technologies, which of these three giants is best placed to succeed?

Unlike most contact lens manufacturers it is only part of the larger brand. For the manufacturer Ciba Vision, for example, they are part of a larger pharmaceutical company, Novartis, but the brand Ciba Vision only refers to contact lens manufacturing and solutions.

Let’s look at the larger company first. It divides its business into five core areas, two of which are contact lenses and solutions. The other areas are pharmaceuticals for eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, cataract and vitreoretinal surgey instruments and refractive laser surgery tools.

The pharmaceutical division of the company manufactures a number of eye drop treatments such Besivance an anti bacterial used to treat conjunctivitis. The smallest part of the company, it’s refractive surgery division, manufactures equipment for corrective eye surgery such as the often advertised LASIK surgery. This surgery reshapes a person’s cornea to adjust for myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. The last division of the company is its cataract and vitreoretinal surgery division. This part of the company manufactures tools for use in surgery for various eye related conditions.

Lens care is more developed than most contact lens manufacturers lens care divisions, Acuvue for example doesn’t manufacture contact lens solutions at all. The company however manufacture ReNu solutions which are popular multipurpose solutions that are currently trying to recover from a product recall in 2006. They also manufacture lens care for rigid lenses under the brand name Boston which puts Bausch & Lomb lenses against smaller manufacturers such as Lucid, as the soft lens manufacturers tend not to make rigid lenses.

Recently Bausch & Lomb contact lenses have been in competition both in the market and in the court room over the development of silicon hydrogel contact lenses branded by Bausch and Lomb as Purevision. Ciba Vision’s patent rights in the USA for a time prohibited Purevision contacts being sold there until agreement was reached. Acuvue’s Oasys and Cooper Vision’s Biofinity are in similar situations.

The company is now no longer a public company listed on the NYSE. It was taken over by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus. However core to success of Bausch & Lomb Contact lenses will be the question of whether its products can stand up to the competition.