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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    78 comments
    • Luckily I still have spare bottles of Lobob’s Disinfecting & Storage Solution. I’ve been using Menicon Unique pH for rewetting drops. Not quite as good as Lobob but much better than Boston. I just hope Menicon keeps producing their products!

      Jessica on
    • I have been using simplus since Lobob went out. My contacts ride high & my vision very distorted. I’ve never been diagnosed with dry eyes, but I’m assuming I have the contacts Sclaric-that responded to lobob. It’s very frustrating. Please let us know when we can find something similar.

      Diane on
    • Just wanted to thank you for updating this thread and giving hope to many people. I’m an older guy who has had Keratoconus, cornea transplants, cataract surgery, and YAG Laser Capsulotomy. Hard lenses and RGPs have allowed me to function and even have a career as a software developer. I’m pretty much blind without them. I’ve used Lobob cleaner for over 40 years and haven’t found a great alternative. Sereine regular cleaner (not Extra Strength) seems to be the best option for me. It can’t compare with ESC though. I’ll keep checking back and hopefully they will resume production some day.

      Jeff J on
    • Just wanted to thank you for updating this thread and giving hope to many people. I’m an older guy who has had Keratoconus, cornea transplants, cataract surgery, and YAG Laser Capsulotomy. Hard lenses and RGPs have allowed me to function and even have a career as a software developer. I’m pretty much blind without them. I’ve used Lobob cleaner for over 40 years and haven’t found a great alternative. Sereine regular cleaner (not Extra Strength) seems to be the best option for me. It can’t compare with ESC though. I’ll keep checking back and hopefully they will resume production some day.

      Jeff J on
    • Hi Joe

      Thanks for reaching out! I have completely updated the Lobob blog post and I’ll send this as an email to you separately as well.

      So as regards Lobob: I think that Covid has probably been a major disruptor to how that might have played out. I would have thought that either Lobob would find another contract manufacturer or sell this off to someone, and clearly neither of those has happened – at least not yet. So I’m stumped and having to pretty much conclude that it’s not coming back. Hopefully we’ll just be pleasantly surprised when it does. It might also just show up somewhere quietly under another name or as a generic.

      Then there’s Sereine. We actually have some here. I have been avoiding making any announcement because the available quantities are small and I don’t want to frustrate people with the availability yoyo that’s been going on elsewhere. We can sell it now though (one per customer). What we were told is there was an ingredient issue, that has since been resolved, and we’re just waiting on stability testing of the most recent batch.
      Hope this helps
      Rebecca

      Rebecca Petris on

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