Saffron Walden based Contamac Ltd, the world’s largest independent supplier of contact and intraocular lens materials, has received The Queen’s Award for Innovation for the development of the first range of silicone hydrogel contact lens materials for the speciality contact lens industry.
The silicone-based materials are called Definitive and have been developed to allow silicone hydrogel contact lens manufacturing using lathe cutting techniques. Lathe cut contact lenses are used in the speciality contact lens industry and allow for lenses to be made to measure for complex corneal shapes. Definitive materials provide the cornea with three times more oxygen than traditional hydrogel lenses and can be manufactured without surface treatment for the 25% of the contact lens wearing market that requires speciality lenses.
Founded in 1987, Contamac Ltd now manufactures more than 250 different biocompatible materials for all contact and intraocular lens applications. With sales offices in Grand Junction, United States, and Shanghai, China, Contamac caters for a growing global ophthalmic market. Contamac’s continuous growth in international trade was also recognised in 2012 with The Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Contamac’s drive for innovation sits at the heart of its success, and its commitment to research and development has made the company the largest supplier of materials to the specialist contact lens and intra-ocular lens industry in the world. In a recent move to new premises, the R&D department was expanded to 2.5 times its former size.
By working in close partnership with its laboratory network and academic institutions, Contamac maintains its position at the forefront of specialist biocompatible polymer science. Collaborations with teaching institutions allow the company to anticipate the needs of the eye care practitioner and develop new materials for the industry that serves the profession. In a fiercely competitive global market, manufacturing technology moves forward apace, and materials need to be modified, and new formulations created to match changing needs. It is this proximity to both profession and industry that allows Contamac to anticipate rather than react to need.