If you are someone that is very much dependent on your contact lenses for clearer vision, you may have wondered how these tiny medical devices came to be. Or perhaps, who is the biggest manufacturer of contact lenses?
To answer your question, Johnson & Johnson Company is actually the world’s largest contact lens manufacturer. The company was founded in 1886, and presently employs 120,000 workers within several medical divisions. The corporate headquarters of Johnson & Johnson is located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Under their umbrella, the corporation includes 250 subsidiary companies with operations in over 57 countries and products sold in over 175 worldwide.
The company’s major franchises in the Pharmaceutical industry include Neuroscience, Immunology, Oncology and Infectious Disease. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved Sirturo, a Johnson & Johnson tuberculosis drug that is the first modern medicine to combat tuberculosis in over 40 years. Johnson & Johnson’s over-the-counter brands include various household medications and first aid brands such as Band-Aid, Neutrogena, Tylenol and Acuvue Contact Lenses.
Acuvue contact lenses first began as The Frontier Contact Lens Company in the 1950’s. Optometrist Seymour Marco purchased the company and in the 1970’s invented a new material that was softer on the eye, known as etafilcon A. The marvel of the first generation soft contact lens was that it was manufactured by hand; and the lathing, polishing and inspecting of the contact lenses was so labor intensive, the product did not have the opportunity to gain proper recognition. In 1981, Marco sold the Frontier Company to Johnson & Johnson Inc.
The Rise of Acuvue and Soft Contacts
A division of Johnson & Johnson called Vistakon tackled the slow production process and improved it. As a result, the Acuvue brand as it is known today entered the market in 1986. The contacts were made of a new material that was more comfortable to wear and also healthier for the eye. New generations of silicone hydrogel contact lenses and disposable contacts provided a fresh lens that reduced irritation, allowing the eye more access to oxygen. Originally designed for extended seven-day wear, Acuvue lenses were further improved upon, and thus dailies were born. Today, Acuvue offers a line of products that range from one-day wear to two-week lenses, provided by Acuvue 2 and Oasys.
Johnson & Johnson’s Vistakon Division has grown to be the largest contact lens producer worldwide. The first disposable contact lens created in the world, Acuvue now comes in many prescription strengths and varieties. With the exception of one location in Limerick, Ireland, all Vistakon manufacturing plants operate in the United States. Acuvue contacts are then shipped and sold in more than 70 countries worldwide.
All Acuvue Contact Brands by Johnson & Johnson
- Acuvue 2
- Acuvue Advance- 2 week disposable
- Acuvue Oasys-2 week disposable
- 1-Day Acuvue
- Acuvue 2 Colors
- Acuvue 2 Colors Opaque
- Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism
- Acuvue Toric contacts
- Acuvue Bifocal lenses
Johnson & Johnson Environmental Efforts:
Over the years Johnson & Johnson has become equally as conscious about the environment as they are about medical advancements. According to Newsweek, it was listed as one of the top three Green Friendly Corporations. The American business has been praised for its reductions in water and energy use. The packaging practices have transformed, switching from plastic bottles to non-polycarbonate containers. Johnson & Johnson also continues to support the Climate Northwest Initiative and the EPA National Environmental Performance Track programs, and currently operates the largest solar power generator in Pennsylvania.