Published March 15, 2011
Volume 19, Number 3

CooperVision's New Specialty Contact Lens Has Roots in Hacienda 
Park R&D Facility Played a Key Role in Creating New Astigmatism-Correcting Technology

CooperVision’s new Avaira Toric lenses were developed in the
company’s R&D Center on Stoneridge Drive.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

In mid-January CooperVision announced the national roll-out of a new toric (astigmatism-correcting) contact lens that offers several improvements for both wearers and prescribing eyecare professionals. Designed to provide consistent performance in a broad range of  astigmatic patients regardless of their prescription, the Avaira Toric silicone hydrogel lens “offers exceptional stability, vision, and comfort,” according to James Gardner, CooperVision’s Vice President of Marketing, the Americas.

Those whose experience with contact lenses goes back several years will immediately appreciate the enhancements. The new lens design features “a consistent horizontal thickness across the power range,” improving lens stability and reducing rotation in the eye, drawbacks that made early generation disposable soft lenses problematic for some users. The lens-eyelid interaction has also been significantly improved in the Avaira Toric product line thanks to what is known as “a wide ballast band,” which completely encircles the optic zone so there is no noticeable contrast in surfaces.

Suitable for all-day wear, Avaira Toric lenses incorporate CooperVision's Aquaform Comfort Science, a technology developed in part from the materials research carried out in the company’s Hacienda R&D Center at 5870 Stoneridge Drive. Comfort Science “creates a naturally hydrophilic contact lens that retains water, minimizing dehydration and eliminating the need for wetting agents, coatings, or additives,” so it stays moist and comfortable in the eye, Gardner explains.

Because the lenses are extremely soft and thin, wearer adaptation is almost instantaneous. This is a special benefit for providers, streamlining the office fitting process. The test lens in the optical chair quickly rotates and conforms to the cornea, performing just like the longer-term experience the patient will have.  “Our job as manufacturers is to make it easy for optometric professionals to get a successful lens fit,” Gardner continues. “We are very respectful of the time they have with their patients.”

CooperVision has a long history of providing toric and multifocal lenses. While the more traditional spherical lenses represent the largest portion of its business, the company has a strong reputation in the professional community for manufacturing specialty contact lenses.

The company had an early presence in California with the 1993 acquisition of contact lens manufacturer Coast Vision of Huntington Beach. In 2005 it acquired Hacienda-based Ocular Sciences. They were both smart moves. The contact lens industry is flourishing, Gardner notes. For one thing, the need for vision correction is a constant. “People will continue to have refractive error and need correction,” he observes. In addition, the business has truly gone global, as new markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, produce consumers whose increasing disposable income allows them to purchase contact lenses.

CooperVision is one of two business units of The Cooper Companies, headquartered elsewhere in Pleasanton. The other business unit is CooperSurgical, which markets products for the women’s healthcare market. The Hacienda facility now has an employee population of approximately 150. Worldwide, The Cooper Companies employ  roughly 6,500 people. For more information, visit CooperVision.

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