(L to R) Alcon founders William Conner and Robert Alexander inspect an early manufacturing assembly line.
GENEVA—On Monday, Alcon marked the company’s 75th anniversary with its “Brilliant History, Brilliant Future” celebration. On May 16, 1947, Alcon Laboratories Inc. was incorporated and began manufacturing specialty pharmaceutical products in Fort Worth, Texas, the company noted in its announcement. Today, Alcon has complementary businesses in surgical and vision care and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland—a country where it has been rooted for nearly 50 years. To recognize this significant milestone, throughout the year, Alcon said it will highlight its heritage of breakthrough innovation, industry firsts, ongoing dedication to eyecare professionals (ECPs) and their patients, and commitment to increasing access to eyecare.

“When Robert Alexander and William Conner combined the first syllables of their last names to create ‘Alcon,’ no one could have predicted that one small pharmacy would help shape the eyecare industry and grow to become the global eyecare leader we are today,” David Endicott, Alcon’s chief executive officer, said in the announcement.

“We embrace our leadership role in the industry while staying true to the foundation our business was built on 75 years ago: cultivating meaningful insights from eyecare professionals to address unmet eyecare needs and increasing access to eyecare. Our Brilliant History gives us the confidence to realize our Brilliant Future,” Endicott added.

From the introduction of the first Droptainer eye drop dispensing bottle in 1953 to the 1990 launch of Focus, the first soft contact lens exclusively for periodic replacement, to the 1994 approval of the AcrySof IQ intraocular lens (IOL), the first time a material had been developed specifically for an IOL, Alcon has a legacy of industry-leading innovation. Building on this, Alcon Research and Development and Manufacturing teams have delivered an unparalleled new product portfolio, including more than 50 launches since 2018.

Currently, Alcon has more than 100 pipeline products under development to continue delivering sight-correcting and sight-saving products and services.

Alcon is also helping people see brilliantly by expanding the availability of quality eyecare and access around the globe. This includes innovative programs that provide free or low-cost eyecare to patients in underserved communities. For instance:

  • Alcon’s Phaco Development (PD) program has been empowering surgeons to provide sustainable access to phaco procedures, the standard in cataract care, in low-to-middle income countries. Since the program’s inception 14 years ago, approximately 5,500 Alcon PD-trained surgeons have performed more than 7.5 million phaco procedures.

  • Alcon Cares Project 100 reduces cataract blindness by donating phaco equipment to accelerate surgeon training and support patient care in marginalized areas worldwide.

  • Additionally, through its partners, the Alcon Foundation provides monetary donations to expand quality eyecare and access to all. Over the last 10 years, the Alcon Foundation donated $42 million in monetary grants and Alcon Cares provided $543 million in product donations supporting more than 6,500 medical missions.
While the eyecare industry has drastically changed over the past seven decades, Alcon’s commitment to helping people see brilliantly remains steadfast, the company noted. As the industry continues to adapt to the evolving demands of today, Alcon is proud to be at its helm, preparing for the needs of tomorrow.