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!

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    • 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
    • I enjoyed Lobob while it was available.

      The only thing that has come close is this product:


      The upside is that it works faster than my normal cleaning process and feels just about as clean and comfortable.

      Troy Wilson on
    • After trying multiple “all in one” solutions for my gas permeable lenses, I read a post here about a year ago that really helped. Based on that recommendation, I started using the Target Up & Up brand cleaner (red cap) and conditioning solution along with storing them in Clear Care at night. It was like a miracle and I stopped missing Lobob. My eye doctor even commented that my vision had improved, which I attribute to the fact that my lenses were clean and not gunky. I just ran out of the cleaner and discovered Target seems to have stopped making it! Now I’m on a search for a new one. (Boston hasn’t been good for years). I see that Walmart sells one called Equate that gets good reviews (someone even mentioned it’s as good as Lobob). In fact, the active ingredients are identical, so I plan to try that and will report back. They also sell a conditioning solution with the identical ingredients to the Target version that I loved.

      MB on
    • optimum wetting and rewetting drops are the best. sorry to hear labob does not produce this product any longer, demand is still there. perhaps they can contract out with another manufacturer.

      kenneth lang on
    • I agree with all of you — it’s been years, and I still miss Lobo and nothing is as good with my contact lenses. I have to wear them less frequently, and my vision correction is not as good with eyeglasses. Bring back Optimum!

      Vikki on

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