Contact Lens Science and Sustainability Through the Eyes of a Student

In 1999, CooperVision opened one of several of its international manufacturing plants in Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico. The 540,000 square-foot site currently produces two brands of silicone hydrogel lenses, MyDay® and Biofinity®. The utilization of best-in-class manufacturing processes has resulted in award-winning conservation efforts.

The Puerto Rico location has received numerous awards for their water sustainability efforts including LEED® Silver Certification1, the Environmental Innovation Project of the Year2 in Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority Pre-Treatment Excellence Compliance Award3. Since its inception, the site has saved 16,800,000 gallons (63 million liters) of water per year and reduced the demand for city-provided water by 35%.*

Second year optometry student Kimberly Castellanos and her classmates were recently given the opportunity to tour the facility. Kimberly is the president of her class at the Inter American School of Optometry (IAUPR), the former president of the private practice club, and was instrumental in the relationship between the school and CooperVision. Her interest in optometry began early, at the age of 12, when she began wearing contact lenses and her involvement in the profession has provided her with extensive education, friends, and memorable experiences.

She recalls learning about the location of the plant on the island, the hope to re-establish a relationship, and the importance of having an understanding about the production and science behind contact lens development. With the support of IAUPR administration, CooperVision Professional and Academic Affairs and Manufacturing leadership, the students were welcomed to tour the facility. When asked what she enjoyed most about the experience, Kimberly recalls how kind and welcoming the CooperVision team was to her and her classmates. She also noted the value in understanding contact lens product design in her role as an optometrist, saying, “as a future optometrist I want to know about the details of the products I will be recommending to patients.”

She recounts being most surprised about the ingenuity of the equipment. The state-of-the-art machines were very impressive. Everything in the plant was seamless and thoughtfully designed for maximum output and quality production. The environment was very clean and organized. I have never seen machines like that in my life! The lengths that the facility goes through to ensure a consistent and sterile product was very surprising.”

Students from IAUPR learned about the different materials used in the production of silicone hydrogel contact lenses to increase oxygen permeability, and the quality control processes CooperVision uses.

Kimberly cited a special appreciation for CooperVision’s program for recycling and reducing emissions.  CooperVision prioritizes environmentally responsible practices across four key areas: water, energy, recycling, and people. Environmental initiatives are focused on minimizing waste of all types, repurposing plastic, and reusing cardboard.4

She was thankful for the unique opportunity the students had to tour the facility and CooperVision’s relationship with the students of IAUPR.

* As of Q1 FY 2018. Data subject to change. CooperVision sustainability measures may vary from facility to facility, owing to site-dependent external and internal factors.

†With high oxygen delivery for daily wear, SiHy materials minimize or eliminate hypoxia-related complications.

  4. CVI Data on file 2023.  Manufacturing sites: Costa Rica, Hungary, New York State, Puerto Rico and Southampton, UK.



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