Where's Lobob? (Update)

Last updated 6/24/2021

Where did Lobob go?

Lobob products have been out of production since July 2019. This is a huge problem for the scleral lens community, as Lobob ESC has long been the most-recommended 'rub' cleaning solution for scleral lenses that are NOT coated with HydraPeg.

What is Lobob?

Lobob is a company in California that used to sell several products of interest in the scleral lens community:

  1. Lobob ESC, a/k/a 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 "rub" cleaning solution for scleral lenses. (Except, of course Hydra PEG coated lenses, because it will strip the coating.) 
  2. Sof/Pro2, a Miraflow generic, which is another 'red cap' cleaner that has commonly been used for sclerals (albeit off label).
  3. Sundry other RGP products such as Lobob CDS, wetting drops and a hard lens cleaner.

Why is it gone? Is it coming back?

In July 2019, the contract manufacturer (Altaire Pharmaceuticals) that was making Lobob had to stop production and issue extensive recalls of more than a hundred eye care products including many generic dry eye drops and ointments. Lobob solutions were not recalled, but manufacturing of all products ceased. There has been no indication that they ever resumed.

In March 2020, the FDA issued a long, scathing warning letter to Altaire detailing their violations, ranging from data falsification to use of duct tape on the filling line. Whatever it all means, it sure did not look like a promising path to reinstatement. 

Fast-forward to June 2021. The Lobob company has had two years to either find a different contract manufacturer or find a buyer able to do so, and there's no indication that they have done either. At this point I think it's fair to say it's unlikely to become available again anytime soon. If they surprise us, great!

What can I use instead of Lobob ESC?

First, please talk to your eye doctor for their specific recommendations. You can also show this information to your doctor and ask for advice.

Another alcohol-based "red-cap" cleaner?

The only red-cap cleansers popular for scleral lenses are the various Miraflow generics. These are good, but the real problem is that they just haven't been available. Here are the options that we know of. If you know of more, tell us.

Bear in mind that anything that claims to be Miraflow or be similar to Miraflow - they're basically all generics for the original Miraflow (CibaVision) which was discontinued a great many years ago.

...Or a multi-purpose solution?

Any multi-purpose solution labeled for use with RGP lenses can be used on scleral lenses - with the exception that if your lens is Hydra-PEG coated, you can only use compatible solutions (Unique pH, Tangible Clean or Boston Simplus). Multi-purpose solutions aren't as effective at removing stubborn deposits as the alcohol-based cleaners, but they're much better than nothing!

    Older Post Newer Post

    • Anybody try the European (German) version? Does it work? Is it the actual Lobob product?

      Jimmy J on
    • apohealth.de in Germany carries LoBob. takes about 7-10 days to receive. No charge for shipping.

      Fred on
      A long time ago I bought a plunge type hard/RGB lens cleaner. Here you put the lens in each side of the plunger, put in the water with or without some cleaner, and go to town plunging for a minute or so until you are happy. Haven’t seen it in decades. However I just bought a fantastic bottle washer on Amazon for $19.95, 304 steel, brushed nickel, and a fantastic product for using sink type high water pressure to clean glasses, cups, and bottles. I installed it and am very happy with it and the results. Then I, as a horrible pack rat, thought about all those old contact cases and lens that I still have. Why not take a couple cases of different type, drill a nice pattern of small holes through both lens caps all the way through the container bottom to allow the water to flow at a nice high speed flow rate all the way through the protective case where the holes as simply too small for the lenses to get lost and this should not damage the lenses in any way. But if it works it will save a fortune in Lobob and Miraflow and clean the lenses naturally with just water. I have not done this yet but I plan to do so shortly. I have the lens containers and lots of old lenses to test the concept on.
      See: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09WGV1D7Q/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      Eliezer May on
    • I wonder if this is some marketing ploy to get people to spend money on other types of contact lenses. I was a hard/gp lens wearer for 20+ years, had Lasik, went over 10 years with no required vision correction, then in my 50’s needed “up close” vision correction and went back to my eye surgeon. He recommended reading glasses or another surgery (not). Went back to GP lenses and no problem with occasional wear with Optimum. Then Optimum not available and I can barely wear any contacts, with all options (Unique Ph, Simplus, etc). Will not get them clean. Have to use Progent twice a week. Not cost effective.

      David V. on
    • I am SO GRATEFUL for this comment thread! I have been wearing RGP lenses for 35 years with little to no issues. Ever since Lobob ESC was discontinued I have been suffering with cloudy lenses and major discomfort having to take my contacts out several times a day to clean them, but usually giving up and just wearing my glasses. I have been scouring the internet for other contact lens wearers recommendations to replace Lobob and came across these comments. Sereine Extra Strength Daily Cleaner kept coming up as a viable replacement for Lobob ESC so I had one shipped to me overnight and…OMG!! It WORKS!!! I haven’t had a good contact lens wearing day in over a year and a half! I’m so freaking happy!!!! I honestly thought my contact lens wearing days were over. Yesterday I wore my contacts from 7am to 10pm with NO problems and they were just as comfortable at 10pm as the moment I put them in my eyes that morning. If you’ve been suffering and missing lobob ESC, give Sereine a try but make sure you purchase it from a reputable distributor like this one. I looked on Amazon and the offerings of the “same” solution look sketchy. Plus the price (as of this posting) is super fair on this site!!

      Sheilap on

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