A History of Optics at Bausch + Lomb - Past, Present & Future

  • October 28, 2014
  • 7:00 PM
  • UR/LLE East Lobby

A History of Optics at Bausch + Lomb - Past, Present & Future


Speakers: Ian Cox PhD, and George L Grobe PhD,

Bausch + Lomb has been a Rochester fixture since it was founded in 1853, and it has always been regarded as an integral part of the optics community.  This connection was clearly visible in the first century of the company’s existence, with the development of spectacles, microscopes, telescopes, camera lenses, and other military and civilian optical instrumentation as well as the manufacture of optical glass.  However in the late 1960’s through to 2000 the company started a swing away from optics with the development of soft contact lenses, the acquisition of pharmaceutical and other health related businesses and the divestiture of medical instruments and the RayBan sunglass division.  In 1999 the purchase of the companies that were to form the B+L Surgical Division signaled the return of Bausch + Lomb to physiological optics and although the path was often tortuous, this led to B+L once again being recognized as a company who not only respected their optics heritage, but rejuvenated the skillset within the company and made optics a key feature of all their new surgical and contact lens products.  In this lecture we will describe the historical link between optics and Bausch + Lomb from the very beginning of the company, presenting previously unseen archive material from the company vault, how the course of the company changed direction during the mid 60’s to late 1990’s and then describe the development of the products that brought the Bausch + Lomb name to once again be synonymous with physiological optics.


Ian Cox was awarded his Bachelor of Optometry degree with honors from the University of N.S.W., Sydney, Australia in 1981, and in 1986 received his PhD degree from the same institution for studies involving the visual performance of soft contact lenses. In 1986 he began working in the United States as a Senior Research Optometrist in the Bausch & Lomb Contact Lens Division in Rochester, NY.  Throughout his career at B+L, Ian primarily worked as an individual contributor working on projects to improve contact lenses, refractive surgery and intraocular lenses through changes to improve physiological response and visual performance through optical design. In 2013, Ian was promoted to Bausch + Lomb Research Fellow, a senior executive position and the first person to be awarded this title in the company’s history, for his continuous contribution of technical innovation and leadership across all medical device business units of Bausch + Lomb. In August 2013 Ian left Bausch + Lomb at the time of the Valeant Pharmaceutical purchase of the company, and founded IGC Consulting, an organization dedicated to enable ophthalmic companies to new and innovative products to commercialization. Ian is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Rochester.  He has authored 42 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has had 13 patents granted.

     George L. Grobe, III, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research and Development for Vision Care and Surgical Products at Bausch + Lomb, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals.  George joined Bausch + Lomb in June 2008 as Vice President of Global Research and Development for the Vision Care business.  George was previously with DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, where he served as Vice President of Research.   The DePuy team introduced novel polymer and orthopaedic implants over his tenure.

     Prior to joining DePuy, George was Director, Materials and Surface Science at Bausch + Lomb in Rochester.  George spent 12 years working at B+L, working primarily on a variety of products.  George also worked at Perkin-Elmer in the Physical Electronics Division managing their surface science laboratory in New Jersey.  George has a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Roswell Park Memorial Institute, an MA in Analytical Chemistry from SUNY at Buffalo and a BS in Chemistry from Stonehill College.


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