Optimum by Lobob Extra Strength Cleaner... Some of us know it as Optimum, some of us know it as Lobob, some of us know it as ESC.
By any of these names, it's still the best darned cleaning solution for scleral lenses. (Except, of course Hydra PEG coated lenses, because it will strip the coating.)
We have not been able to get Lobob for the Dry Eye Shop in several months, and most users are finding they either can't get it, or can only get it at scalper pricing on Amazon or eBay. Furthermore, additional Lobob products such as CDS seem to be affected as well.
So, what's going on?
There have been no official announcements but we believe that the Lobob products are made by a contract manufacturer that was virtually shut down by extensive recalls of eye care products last summer. Many of you were aware of that situation because, unfortunately, so many dry eye products were affected - all of which are still out of production, including a great many generic eye drops and ointment as well as Nano Tears brand.
The good news: Lobob has NOT been recalled.
The bad news: Lobob is not currently being produced
The good news: We hope and expect it's coming back.
The bad news: We have no idea when. It all depends on when (whether?) the affected manufacturer (Altaire, if you care to do some googling) is back up and running.
What can I use in the meantime?
If you can't get Lobob, please talk to your eye doctor about acceptable alternatives. Here are some ideas in the meantime:
- Try loboblabs.com. They reportedly may still have a small stock of travel size ESC left.
- A multi-purpose solution, such as Unique pH or Tangible Clean or Boston Simplus. I know, many of you use these for disinfection but use Lobob for cleaning... and they're not as good for cleaning as Lobob is, but it's better than nothing.
- Miraflow. We've been trying to get some for the shop (no luck yet) but hopefully you can get it direct from miraflow.com. Miraflow is one of the best-reputed cleaners on the market. When it was discontinued by its original manufacturer, someone else took up the name and started getting it made. Incidentally, Lobob's Sof/Pro2 is a generic for Miraflow.
- Naturalens GP Cleaner or Sereine from myeyesupply.com. I do not know what's in them or what they're like, and am not personally recommending them because I don't know, but I've heard rumors of them being recommended by some doctors, so it may be worth looking into.
If the current situation continues much longer, I wouldn't be surprised if the other options run out. We'll see. Fingers crossed that Altaire gets their situation straightened out and Lobob comes back on the market. In the meantime, if you haven't yet tried a multipurpose, it may be time to.