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Bausch + Lomb: The Eye Business

October 28, 2013

Some businesses specialize in making computers, others in ships, still others in planes. Every business has its specialty or core niche. For Bausch + Lomb it has always been about the eye and this business has been going on for over hundred fifty years.

Bausch + Lomb was born in a way because of specialization. The company was founded in Rochester, New York by German immigrants John Jacob Bausch and Henry C. Lomb in 1853. Bausch was the expert with the eye being a trained optician. To run a business required more than just the skill of an optician. Lomb provided the other necessary skill being the financier and partner to put up a small optical shop.

Over the years the company produced many products related to the eye. Bausch + Lomb made microscopes in 1876. Photographic lenses were produced in 1883. Other products produced included spectacle lenses, mircotomes, binoculars, and telescopes.

During the two World Wars various equipments were made which were for military use like high-precision lenses for optical measurement. The firm produced the first optical-quality glass in America during the early mid-1900s.  After the Second World War more new products were developed like the CinemaScope lens. For the first time, the “wide screen” effect became possible with the new lens, allowing cinemas to double screen width.

A breakthrough made by the company was bringing into the market contact lenses made of Poly-HEMA in 1971. The contact lenses made at that time were of glass and Lucite (acrylic glass) which were much harder. The new softer lens was marketed with the brand name “Softlens”.

The famous Ray-Ban sunglasses came from Bausch + Lomb but was eventually sold to the Italian Luxottica Group in 1999.  Today the company offers one of the widest ranges of eye health products like contact lenses and lens care products, pharmaceuticals, intraocular lenses and other eye surgery products.

Bausch + Lomb has become a multibillion dollar corporation with 12,000 employees around the world. In August 2013 it was acquired by Valeant Pharmaceutical International, Inc. and became the eye care division of the said company.

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