Bausch & Lomb to invest €90m and create 130 jobs at Waterford plant

Contact lens manufacturer announces major new investment

Bausch & Lomb is one of the largest employers in the southeast, employing more than 1,500 people.

Contact lens manufacturer Bausch & Lomb has announced plans to invest €90 million in its Waterford plant, creating 130 new jobs in the process.

The investment will increase capacity for the manufacture of the company’s Biotrue ONEday range of contact lenses. The new production lines are expected to come on stream in 2023.

This is the third major expansion of the Waterford plant in recent years. In 2017, the company opened a new manufacturing line on the site in a $75 million investment. Just 15 months later, the company announced plans for the installation of more manufacturing capacity.

That work has recently been completed with the company saying on Wednesday that it expects to start producing the group’s latest line of contact lenses in Waterford by the end of this year.


Bausch & Lomb is one of the largest employers in the southeast, employing more than 1,500 people.

“ The investment will further strengthen the Waterford plant’s position in supporting Bausch & Lomb’s efforts to increase market share in the contact lens market,” the company said, noting that the construction phase of this latest project will create work for 150 people.


Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar welcomed the announcement, saying the decision reaffirms the company's commitment to the Waterford area,

Mark Hennessy, site lead, Bausch & Lomb, Waterford, said: "Our vision is to be the global leader in contact lens innovation and manufacturing, and this latest investment will enable the Waterford facility to meet the growing demand for our very successful Biotrue ONEday range of daily disposable contact lenses.

“The Biotrue lens was developed by the team in Waterford and supported by our commercial colleagues around the world, and it continues to grow in our US, European and Asian markets.

“The decision to make this significant investment in Waterford was influenced by our track record in providing high-quality products and excellent customer service to markets around the globe.”

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said the investment in expanding the Waterford plant was a “welcome addition to the southeast region’s thriving medtech cluster”.

He said it demonstrated Bausch & Lomb’s “continued commitment” to the area 40 years after the contact lens plant first opened on the site.

The latest investment continues a run of good news for a plant that was facing closure back in 2014 shortly after Bausch & Lomb was taken over by Valeant.

Looking to cut costs, Valeant tried to impose a 30 per cent cut in pay alongside 200 redundancies at the site which then employed 1,300. At the time, management said payroll costs in Waterford were running 30 per cent higher than in a sister plant in Rochester, New York.

Agreement was eventually reached with the unions on slightly lower pay cuts. Valeant subsequently changed its names to Bausch Health.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times