Cooperative Research Centres

For over 40 years we have collaborated with industry, research, education and health care institutions to create advanced products and vision care solutions. This includes 25 years leading some of Australia’s most successful ‘Cooperative Research Centres’

25 years leading Cooperative Research Centres

Brien Holden Vision Institute was the lead participant in a series of successful ‘Cooperative Research Centres’ between 1991 and 2015, supported by the Australian Government, which brought together international industry and research institutions to deliver breakthrough products.

World-leading contact lens products were co-developed though the Cooperative Research Centre for Eye Research and Technology (CRCERT, 1991-2003) and Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC, 2003-2015), generating over $300 million in royalties for CRC partners and around $1.5 billion in cash and in-kind investment.

Other achievements include contact lens and spectacle designs for myopia management, major advances in knowledge of contact lens-related infection and inflammation, new technologies to aid eye surgery, significant growth in the contact lens market, professional education for thousands of practitioners, training of more than 100 postgraduate research students and the establishment of an international NGO building sustainable eye care in developing communities.

What was delivered

Contact lenses
  • Co-developed Focus Night & DayTM contact lenses with Ciba Vision, the first lenses to be US FDA approved for 30 days continuous wear. The silicone hydrogel material first developed through this program now represents over 50% of contact lens sales globally.
  • AIR OPTIX®AQUA MULTIFOCAL lenses for presbyopia were co-developed by Vision CRC with Ciba Vision and launched in 2009. They are now the leading multifocal contact lens in the United States.
1st Generation Myopia Management Spectacles and Contact Lenses
Spectacle lenses for myopia management were co-developed with Carl Zeiss Vision and have been launched in several countries in Asia. The lenses have demonstrated an ability to control the progression of myopia by up to 30% in children aged 6 to 12 years with a certain history of parental myopia.

Myopia control contact lens designs have also been developed and licensed to an industry partner. The Vision CRC myopia program has now transitioned to Brien Holden Vision Institute.

Find out more here.
Eye care to over 14 million people
In response to evidence that uncorrected refractive error was the leading cause of avoidable vision impairment worldwide, partners in the Cooperative Research Centre for Eye Research and Technology (CRCERT) established a non-government organisation in 1998 to help deliver eye care to people in need.

Since then, the Brien Holden Vision Institute (previously International Centre for Eyecare Education), in collaboration with CRCERT and Vision CRC, has delivered optometric services and spectacles to over 14 million people in over 50 countries.

Importantly, they have also helped train over 250,000 eye care personnel and established and/or supported the development of 14 optometry schools as part of its strategy to build sustainable eye care systems.

Find out more about these programs here.
Eye care for Aboriginal Australians
In Australia, over 200 eye care clinics have been established in NSW and the Northern Territory to deliver eye care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Thousands of eye examinations and spectacles have been delivered to Indigenous people during this time.

To ensure eye care services are sustainable the Vision CRC Models of Vision Care program trained over 300 Aboriginal health workers in eye care, developed a range of training materials and conducted extensive research to improve eye care delivery pathways.
Over $300 million in royalties for participants generated by CRC products. An estimated $1.5 billion was brought into Australia in cash and in-kind investment into CRC research programs.
Major impact on eye care education globally
Over 150,000 eye care personnel have been trained through the education programs and the training materials developed by the CRCs and the CRCERT initiative, the International Centre for Eyecare Education (now Brien Holden Vision Institute).

Find out more about ongoing education programs here.
Find out more about optometry education resources here.
Intellectual property and scientific knowledge
Vision CRC and CRCERT were intellectual property leaders in the vision field in Australia, obtaining 59 granted patents. They also excelled in research activity, publishing over 1000 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivering over 3000 conference (presentations and posters) and education presentations.

The CRCs also helped develop the next generation of industry leaders, researchers and academics through educating 116 PhD students.
Technology for eye surgery - Intraoperative autorefractor and OCT
Intraoperative technology (Autorefractor and Ocular Coherence Tomography) for eye surgery developed through the CRC has been licensed to Bioptigen Inc (now Leica Microsystems).

Find out more about Leica Microsystems technology here.
Accommodating Gel
The Accommodating Gel is a clear gel-lens system that will replace the eye’s natural lens when it loses its ability to change power. The lens is removed during a procedure similar to that used for conventional cataract surgery and replaced by the polymer gel-lens. The major advantage of the Accommodating Gel technology is its unmatched ability to comfortably meet accommodation requirements for reading; providing correct focus at any distance just like the natural young lens.

The Accommodating Gel technology would be initially marketed as an alternative to conventional intraocular lens (IOL) replacement in cataract surgery procedures, wherein the opaque lens is removed and replaced by a synthetic IOL. The Accommodating Gel technology is available for co-development or licensing to commercial.