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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    76 comments
    • R.I.P. Lobob….

      I am not an expert in the trade, but have been wearing for 40 years… Between “reading the tea leaves” and the writing on the wall, I’m quite sure that our beloved Lobob (Optimum) products will never make it back to market. Certainly not in any timeframe that our eyes can hold out for. So please stop begging and pleading here — it is to no avail.

      As some have suggested, I’ve used the “drop of dish soap” remedy myself, in a pinch. I’ve found that the “Boston Advanced” cleaner (NOT the storage solution) makes a decent substitute as a cleaner, as much as I hate the pin-prick-sized bottle-tip hole, and the ugly mess at the tip that it’s prone to. I got a free sample from my eye doctor, and the solution itself is much better than I recall it being when I last tried it, what, 20 years ago while on a trip where I forgot my travel cleaning kit.

      But that does not disinfect lenses. Folks, you MUST disenfect your lenses! No matter what solution you come up with to clean them. The “Clear Care” (Plus, etc.) hydrogen-peroxide-based product or it’s Walmart/Equate knock-off does that job well, although the regime takes more time. I still need to pre-clean with the Advanced stuff, and I’ve found that I still need to use a drop of that cleaner in the morning, on the disinfected lenses (I know, sheesh!) to remove softened deposits or other residue. But then it’s just a saline rinse and I’m good to go. (I’ve always avoided “wetting” solutions.)

      I’m not happy that a fairly quick, one-solution (or two if you used ESC in addition to CDS) regime necessarily becomes a multi-product, more time-consuming regime. But the alternative is far worse. Please… clean AND disinfect your lenses!!

      RichieD on
    • Lobob is out of production and discontinued from what I saw on the Website. Because of low sales? I could never find it anywhere, only at the contact lens doctors office. Poor marketing management. The all in 1 products are junk, I may have to concoct my own.

      Denise on
    • I reached out to my contact lens manufacturer and got a list of alternatives. There are about 17 products on the list.
      Menicare GP = Optimum CDS by Lobob. Same product. Both appear sold out.

      The remaining items vary in their comparison. There is only one product I see on the list that is similar to ESC I’m that it is both preservative free and also does not contain CHLORHEXIDINE (can cause allergic reaction)- Progent. However, this is only a protein remover and you use it once every 2 weeks. Looks like you really have to follow the instructions when using it too.

      Drew on
    • This is what we the consumer get when the greedy 1%ERs decide that they cannot become as wealthy as they desire. Good products that support a small community never contribute adequately to 1%ER gree-based wealth. So, we struggle, suffer and pay the penalty for their GREED! We must eliminate 1%ERs from our economic system! GREED IS BAD

      Keith Reynolds on
    • I was able to get one bottle of Miraflow a couple of months ago since Optimum was no longer available. In order to extend the amount of product in my bottle, I am only using it on my scleral lenses 3 times a week. I figure I would like to clean my lenses for as long as possible rather than just using the Clear Care Hydraglide cleaning solution. Just a suggestion for any of you that still have some product left.

      Ann on

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