Alcon discovery and development efforts begin and end with the patient. Based on the unmet medical needs of today – and tomorrow – Alcon is currently developing products and solutions to address:
- Retinal diseases
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Refractive errors
- Ocular allergies
- Dry eye
- Infection and inflammation
Alcon plans to invest approximately USD 5 billion in R&D over the next five years to drive research and new product development representing the largest corporate commitment to R&D in the eye care industry.
Alcon discovers and develops innovative eye care treatments based on unmet patient needs and a strong scientific understanding of eye diseases and conditions, with a focused pipeline that aligns with our three businesses – Surgical, Pharmaceutical and Vision Care.
Alcon relies on its R&D organization and relationships with clinicians around the world to conduct large-scale clinical trials. Working closely with clinical groups, the Alcon teams ensure that development efforts meet the needs of doctors and their patients as well as those of regulatory bodies worldwide.
Catatacts: one of the leading causes of blindness
Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in all regions of the world; 51% or more than 18 million people have cataracts. A cataract occurs when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy and prevents the passage of light to the retina, impairing and disrupting vision. Although a treatable disease, most cataracts are age-related (part of normal aging). Cataracts can be successfully corrected with surgery, helping restore a patient’s vision and is one of the most cost-effective medical procedures restoring vision in millions of people. Unfortunately, millions of patients in the developing world lose their sight due to lack of proper treatment. Alcon is committed to enhancing access to treatment of cataracts, working through humanitarian efforts, education on a local level and product support.
The Alcon difference
As a world leader in eye care, the Alcon Division of Novartis has played a unique role in the evolution of cataract surgery. For example, Alcon was a driving force behind the adoption of phacoemulsification, a procedure in which an ultrasonic device is used to remove a cataractous lens. Alcon scientists also led in the development of foldable intraocular lenses that, along with phacoemulsification, have enabled surgeons to reduce the size of incisions, speed up recovery times, and improve patient outcomes.
Most cataract patients also have presbyopia, an age-related difficulty focusing on both near and distant objects. Moreover, about 70% of cataract patients suffer from astigmatism – when the somewhat oblong shape of the cornea causes images to appear blurry and stretched out. Alcon’s AcrySof advanced technology intraocular lenses enable surgeons to treat cataracts, and at the same time, correct these refractive errors.