Eye care device maker Alcon sees a brilliant future ahead


As far as Alcon’s business is concerned, the eyes have it.

Alcon is the global leader in eye care. The company makes a broad range of surgical and vision care products to treat conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases — and even contact lenses to play with eye colors.

Among Alcon’s products are Intraocular lenses (IOLs). These small medical devices replace the eye’s natural lens as part of the surgery to fix cataracts.

Only Alcon IOL site in U.S.

Alcon operates two plants in Cabell County. The first originally opened in 1978 under the name California Intraocular Lens Co. (CILCO). In 2010, Alcon expanded operations with a new 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Huntington Area Development Council Business Park.

“The facility in Huntington, West Virginia, is the only intraocular lens — IOLs — plant for Alcon in the United States,” said Erin Adkins, Alcon Human Resource Site Head.

In 2019, Alcon completed a spin-off from Novartis and became an independent publicly traded company. Alcon is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and serves more than 260 million people in more than 140 countries. The Huntington plant employs more than 700 associates.

Growing market

The demand for eye care is expected to increase. Aging populations need more treatment for eye related conditions.

The growing demand makes the outlook bright for Alcon and the Huntington facility.

“Alcon helps people see brilliantly,” said Adkins. “We focus on remaining nimble and agile to support Alcon as a high-quality manufacturer of medical devices – in whatever form that comes.”

The full-service Huntington facility houses its own machine shop, distribution warehouse and sterilization suite. Positions in those areas require specialized skill and training.

“Alcon offers a full onboarding training program,” said Adkins. “Having prior medical or technical experience would be beneficial.”

Vision for family and community

Many of the Alcon employees have roots in the Huntington community that has surrounded the plant for more than 40 years. Some employees have been with the company for more than 35 years. In some families, more than one generation has been employed there.

“Our employees value having a family friendly environment,” Adkins said. “We work to offer family friendly events throughout the year, including trick or treat, egg hunt, company picnic and Bring Your Child/Parent to Work Day.”

Company programs encourage employees to be active in the community as well.

“We support local programs such as the Huntington Area Food Bank, Lilly’s Place, local animal shelters and the neighboring Cox Landing Elementary,” said Adkins.

The company also has plans to partner with a local bank to build a house with Habitat for Humanity.

“We are looking forward to continue to serve the community that has served us so well for the last 40+ years!” concludes Adkins.

To see comments from Alcon employees, including Erin Adkins, click here.

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