CILCO headquarters.jpg

In 1985, the corporate headquarters of CILCO Inc. was located off 5thh Street Road in Huntington.

 Courtesy of James E. Casto


HUNTINGTON — In 1975, a company called the California Intraocular Lens Co.
 (CILCO for short), began making artificial lenses to be implanted, replacing
 an eye’s natural lens after the surgical removal of cataracts.

In 1977, Dr. James R. Cook, a Huntington ophthalmologist,
 visited the California company, liked what he saw and
 ended up buying the company and
moving it to Huntington.

The doctor said he was interested in manufacturing intraocular
 lenses for himself and his colleagues because at that time the
lenses were very difficult to obtain in the United States.

Today, the company — now known as Alcon Laboratories — is a world leader
 in intraoptic lenses and related products. It operates two plants at Lesage on
W.Va. 2 just up the Ohio River from downtown Huntington. The lenses
 manufactured at the two Huntington plants and a smaller sister
plant in Ireland are used in more than half of the
 cataract surgeries performed worldwide.

Initially, CILCO housed its corporate staff at an office in the Fairfield
 Professional Building on Hal Greer Boulevard. In 1985 the
 corporate staff moved to two floors of a modern building
located off 5th Street Road, a building originally
 built for Ashland Coal Inc.

Today, the 5th Street Road building is home to Mountwest Community and Technical College.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Aug. 2, 2022..


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