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:
- 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.)
- Sof/Pro2, a Miraflow generic, which is another 'red cap' cleaner that has commonly been used for sclerals (albeit off label).
- 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!