• Welcome to my Observations

    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

  • My Pinterest

  • LinkedIn

    View Luke Armour's profile on LinkedIn
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Rundown Podcast Live

    The Rundown

  • RSS Media Bullseye

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • Creative Commons

  • The Show Player

  • Pages

  • March 2006
    S M T W T F S
  • Meta

CIBA Vision Shortage – They’re Alive! – sort of

Update V: (3/6) I really appreciate how often people have stopped by to share experiences and stories with all of us. In light of CIBA Vision’s lack of communication, it’s good to have a place to converse about our problems and fill that void. I do want to caution everyone, though, about checking sources and verifying information before taking any advice shared on this site. I’m a communicator, not a medical person, and I can’t speak for any of the people who leave comments on this blog. Before taking any advice, check with a professional. The Internet is a great resource, but can be abused, use caution.

That said, I just want to point out a new story I read on CNN Today. Baush & Lomb is still having problems, as well. What the heck is going on with eye care products? For so many months we’ve been seeing this industry suffer unexplained accidents. Keep your eyes and ears open for news and continue to share it here. Peace. [end update]

Update IV: (6/2) We have product stocked in NE Ohio. Another reader left this comment, which I wanted to bring to attention.

Got their email today, May 31, 2006 @ 8AM PST (California)

Hi Bruce,

Thank you again for contacting CIBA Vision. This is the latest list of retailers to carry CLEAR CARE. Due to a manufacturing facility upgrade, it has put us in a backorder situation. The upgrade took longer than anticipated.

Albertsons, Bergen Brunswick, CVS, Drugs Store.com, Duane Reade Corp., Fred Meyer, H.E. Butt Grocery, Harmon Stores, Harris Teeter, Inc, HY Vee Food Stores, Imperial Distributors, Kinney Drug Companyu, K-Mart, Kroger,Marsh Supermarkets, Maxi Drugs,McKesson, Meijer, Inc, Progressive Distributors, Pulix Supermarkets, Raleys Supermarkets, Rite Aid, Roundy’s, Safewaty, Shopko, Sparten Stores, Supervalue, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Wegmans, Weis Markets, and Winn Dixie. We started shipping March 22, 2006, to their distribution centers for allocation to their locations. Once it reaches their distribution center they tell us the turn around is 7 to 14 days to get it out to the stores. We are continually shipping to these centers and we hope that they can get it into the stores in a timely fashion. We do not have a schedule of the stores are distribution times as we do not deliver to the stores themselves, just to their warehouses. Softwear Saline will be available again in September.
Please ask your eye care professional what he or she would recommend in the interim.
Again thank you for contacting CIBA Vision.

Kind regards,
CIBA Vision Consultation

UPDATE: A kind reader named Jessica just left a comment on this post and on this post which I will cut and paste some of for your information. It reads:

Hi Jessica,
Thank you for contacting CIBA Vision. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers’ with their concerns and comments. Due to a manufacturing upgrade our products are on backorder. AO Sept will be available the second week of April and Clear Care will be back on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and Walgreens the first week of April. Please ask you eye care professional what you can use in the interim.We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Again, thank you for contacting CIBA Vision.

Kind Regards Sherry Vanore Product Consultant

So at least now we know that CIBA Vision has actual people working there instead of CIBA Vision Consultation Specialists. I wish there were a way to express to CIBA Vision how mistreated we all felt, but they seem to have the market cornered on this type of product. I’m open to suggestions, an organization shouldn’t be able to treat customers this way and get away with it. Thanks, Jessica, now we know what we can expect.

After my somewhat bitter post on March 3 about CIBA Vision and their silence regarding a shortage of numerous products including Clear Care, AOsept, and others – a story finally emerged. Of course, it wasn’t CIBA Vision who announced that, it was Lori Rackl, a health reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times, whowrote a story

regarding the shortage. She actually has quotes from a person with a name from CIBA Vision.

My post generated quite a wide range of comments from all over the US and even into Canada. Ottawa, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, Seattle, Dallas, Ohio, Conneticut, Viriginia – and these are just the people who left comments. Our traffic has nearly tripled since I posted information about this disaster. It’s been quite a refuge for people seeking answers and offering advice. A great group of people, these are. Some even revisted to post additional information knowing that this was the only place (that I know of) for answers.

CIBA Vision, what were you thinking? This is, unfortunately, probably not going to damage your reputation enough to financially affect you – but I kind of wish it would. There’s a lesson to be learned here – communicate! Why torture your loyal consumers, which is what has happened. It frustrates, disappoints, and angers me all at once. This isn’t just revenue, these are people with eye care issues, who rely on your services and products. And you’ve been slapping them across the face for over a month. Especially since Rackl’s article indicates that you were aware of all of this MONTHS before the shortage hit the stores. And no backup plan (see my other post) other than “we would recommend contacting your eye care professional for their recommendation of the best solution for your lenses in the interim.” I guess you’re lucky you don’t have a lot of direct competition. Unfortunately.


145 Responses

  1. Well said. Ciba Vision has proven to be only a manufacturing outfit. If they even have PR staff, they should all be fired. Here is the poorly written letter that I received:

    Thank you for your e-mail. We would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced in locating your lens care system. We are currently experiencing delays in the production of our lens care systems including; both AOSEPT and Clear Care due to a manufacturing upgrade being undertaken at our manufacturing site. We are working diligently to return to full production as quickly as possible; however, at this time we do not have an anticipated date as to when the upgrade will be completed. Our current estimate is for availability within the first of April 2006. Until then, we would recommend contacting your eye care professional for their recommendation of the best solution for your lenses in the interim.

    Who wrote this? A fourth grader?

    Couldn’t they have put a professional statement on their website? To this day, there is nothing and it is March 23.

    I’m disappointed and am looking into other options. I purchased some bottles from e-bay but will find an alternative solution.

  2. Couldn’t agree w/ you more. As an employee at another consumer goods company, I’d like to think that we would handle this better. This was so poorly handled by CIBA Vision. Thanks for the update though! This is the only place I can get an update!

  3. Just a thought… you can make Aosept at home in the interim.

    Aosept is a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution…the same exact stuff you buy at the drug store for about $1. What makes Aosept special and higher priced it that it’s (more) sterile and it’s also pH stabilized. Opening a regular bottle of hydrogen peroxide will let in air, which will change the pH over time.

    But, in a pinch..just buy a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide once a week…and you should be OK.

    FYI, I have a degree in biology/chemisty and work in a lab…

  4. April 2nd and still no Clear Care solutions in any stores in Oregon! The staff at the stores were not able to explain why it was out of stock. Hours later and a google seach…

    Sad that a company can not educate thier vendors and customers. Time for lazer eye correction.

  5. What I recieved from Ciba Vision this morning.

    Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for contacting CIBA Vision. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers’ with their concerns and comments. Due to a manufacturing upgrade our products are on backorder. AO Sept will be available the second week of April and Clear Care will be back on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and Walgreens the first week of April. Please ask you eye care professional what you can use in the interim.

    We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Again, thank you for contacting CIBA Vision.

    Kind Regards
    Sherry Vanore
    Product Consultant

  6. I wish I’d searched online sooner to find out the cause of the complete absence of those products from the shelves. My optometrist had no idea what was going on when I asked a month or so ago, and was also unable to find any information about the disappearance. I thought it odd that both the saline and disinfectant solutions I was using (Aosept ClearCare and Ciba Vision Softwear Saline) that I thought were from different companies were both totally off the shelves, while everything else was still there.

    Not telling anyone until way afterwards is indeed some pretty bad PR. Heck, it’s bad business practice.

  7. I just found another article on the CIBA Vision shortage at


    It includes the most ridiculous quote from the CIBA Vision spokesperson: “We didn’t put out a notice because we felt enough product was out there.” How can CIBA Vision be so totally clueless??!?? Enough product out there?? WHERE?? This blog and the 70 plus comments it generated from all over the country (and Canada as well) indicates that consumers were clearly experiencing a shortage. I am so fed up with CIBA Vision that I am *really* hoping a similar product by another company comes out soon. Any company with such ignorance does not deserve customer loyalty.

  8. Hi all..

    I live here in Los Angeles, and the CIBA shelves are BARE!

    I use the Clear Care and have used the AOSEPT since the 8th grade (I’m 35 now).. I am furious that they didnt prepare for this shortage– especially with this fungus thing thats breaking out among the RENU users…

    Don’t use the RENU.. My MD told me to use the ALCON ONE STEP in the meantime… I’ll report back if I find any CIBA products…


  9. For everyone out there that is frustrated with CIBA Vision and wants an alternative –

    I have been using AOSept for years. Now that its off the shelves I found an almost identical product called EasySEPT made by Bausch & Lomb. It works exactly the same way as AOSept and is just as good.

    EasySept is manufactured in Italy and distributed from the UK. I live in Israel and its relatively easy to find here. I Hope you guys in the states can get a hold of it too.

    Good luck!

  10. Really interesting posts. I went today to find some Clear Care b.c. I was out, and couldn’t find it at a couple stores—-so, I thought, well, of course, Walmart will have it. Wrong—they have a large empty section where it was and some recall stickers there. Now, I understand. About a couple months ago, I noticed the Clear Care was causing some mild burning in my eyes in the morning after leaving in in the solution/neutralizing cup overnight (normally for 6 hours, sometimes for 7-8 hours or more even). At first I thought it was my lenses, so I changed them out. Then, when it continued, I thought, maybe I need to change out the neutralizing cup. Same result. Finally, I called CIBA vision and told them what had happened. They asked me to send the neutralizing cup and unused solution so that they could test it for a possible Q.A. issue. They sent me a prepaid mailer and 3 free starter kits and coupons (hurray!). I was thrilled because I, too, am hooked on this product. It is the only true no-rub solution I’ve used that actually removes all the protein off my lenses, and comes highly recommended by my eye doctor. Now, I’m all out!:( And it doesn’t look like I’ll be finding any anywhere anytime soon. However, unlike you, I had a very positive customer service experience, and was very pleased with the service. BTW, I did not get any info. back from my sample submitted. Wasn’t really expecting them to share their findings with me, and was just happy to get the 3 free kits! Thanks for the info., Kara (in Jax, FL)

  11. Interesting note from Kara (in Jax,FL).

    Several times I had the same experience. I put my lenses in and experienced some slight buring, just like when the neutralizing cup need to be replace. But the cup was fairly new??

    I just flushed the lenses a little more with saline and things were OK. Apparently, the discomfort may have been from a CIBA quality control issue.

    ‘Manufacturing upgrade’ or is it really ‘poor quality control’?

  12. I just tried to find Clear Care at Target. There was no longer any shelf space reserved for it (unlike two weeks ago). I called my eye doctor and was told that it should be available May 1.

    Concord, NH

  13. Nancy,
    That’s an interesting one. Companies have to earn shelf space, it’s one of the essential Ps of marketing (place) and doesn’t come cheaply. I wondered how long retailers would allow their shelves to remain empty. This long delay – and lousy communication from CIBA Vision – may hurt them more than they imagine. Even telling retailers what’s going on would have helped. There are so many people spreading so many rumors about what has happened (or not), it’s ridiculous. I just can’t believe it.

  14. This is indeed a case study in bad public relations. I first noticed the absence of AOSept from store shelves in mid-February. When I called the toll-free number on my old bottle, I reached a company employee who told me that the packaging was being revamped and that the product would be back in stores in March. In the meantime, as others here have observed, Ciba has acted very strangely. The failure to reach out to customers to explain the shortage of product reveals a lack of understanding of brand loyalty. It also makes it seem as though the company had committed some kind of fraud or criminal act that had to be covered up. This mismanagement of the company’s brand and image should be held up as an example of “what not to do” when you have a manufacturing crisis.

    The suggestion from Ciba reps to use another product in the meantime was just stupid. Now that I’ve become accustomed to a competitor’s product, why would I go back to using AOSept when (if) it returns to the market?

  15. […] UPDATE II: A kind reader named Jessica just left a comment on this post and on this post which I will cut and paste for your information. It reads: Hi Jessica, Thank you for contacting CIBA Vision. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers' with their concerns and comments. Due to a manufacturing upgrade our products are on backorder. AO Sept will be available the second week of April and Clear Care will be back on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and Walgreens the first week of April. Please ask you eye care professional what you can use in the interim.We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Again, thank you for contacting CIBA Vision. […]

  16. I live in a suburb just outside Chicago and still no Clear Care. I thank you for your blog because otherwise I would have no idea what was going on. I can not use other solutions because I do get a form of pink eye from using the ReNu product that Walgreens just pulled from their shelves. So for someone like me who is having a difficult time finding an alternative with this shortage it’s very frustrating.

  17. After going to a few more stores, in the hopes that products actually would be on shelves in the first week or two of April, I sent this email last night using Ciba Vision’s email submission form:

    I have been to 4 Longs Drugs locations, a Target, and two Safeways in Contra Costa County, and a Walgreens in Daly City, and none of them had any stock of Clear Care or Sensitive Eyes saline as of 4/12/06. Most of them have pulled the labelling from the shelves. A coworker of mine was unable to find any Clear Care anywhere after searching twice as many locations. No one had any idea what was going on, and any information we did have was not well-disseminated and fairly unconfirmed.

    Other products irritate my eyes to one degree or another. I understand the company’s concerns over competition, but keeping so hush-hush over the shortage was about the dumbest thing imaginable. I’d switch brands if I could. I really wish your PR department had handled things differently, because I like the products, but oh man, what made someone think radio silence was a good idea?

    CIBA Vision is lucky that Bausch&Lomb is having difficulties right now, making them look not as bad in comparison.

    I got this in response this morning:

    Hi Karin,

    Thank you for contacting CIBA Vision. We always appreciate hearing from
    our consumers’ with their concerns and comments. Due to a manufacturing
    upgrade our products are on backorder.
    Clear Care should be on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Target and , CVS, and
    soon to be at Rite Aid. Kroger, Brooks/Eckerd and Safeway. We started
    shipping March 22, 2006, to their distribution centers for allocation to
    their locations. It takes 7-14 days to get from the distribution centers
    to the store shelves. We are continually shipping to these centers.

    We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Again, thank you for
    contacting CIBA Vision.

    Kind Regards
    Product Consultation

    The prompt response is nice. Hopefully it is not a case of too-little-too-late, though. I would really like to stop using the stop-gap brand soon, as it has been causing more eye irritation as of late. Luckily I’ve had a bottle of saline that’s held out, so at least there’s a rinse.

  18. CIBA Vision knew in early February that it had serious production problems with its lens care products and that there would be a shortage on store shelves. It deliberately said nothing to customers and eye care professionals, and even now it continues to stonewall and lie. I received exactly the same email form letter from the company signed by “Product Consultation” (whatever that is). See this article that appeared in The Montreal Gazette on Feb. 9, 2006.

    CIBA contact-lens care products could run dry: Production slowed by plant shutdown
    The Montreal Gazette
    February 9, 2006
    Montreal Gazette
    Copyright © 2006 Montreal Gazette

    A voluntary shutdown last fall of CIBA Vision’s facility in Toronto is expected to lead to a global shortage of its contact-lens care products.

    Officials of the eye-care unit of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG admitted yesterday the move will see some retail shelves go bare. The shortage is already being felt in Montreal.

    As a result, users of those products are being urged by the Centre for Contact Lens Research to check with their eye practitioners well in advance before selecting alternatives.

    “The main concern is that patients get a perfectly suitable and acceptable alternative ahead of time,” Lyndon Jones, a School of Optometry professor at the University of Waterloo and associate director of the school’s contact- lens research centre, told The Gazette.

    Jones stressed in a phone interview from Waterloo, Ont., the importance of patients contacting their opticians for the best substitutes for CIBA products rather than consulting a pharmacist or just taking something else off the shelf.

    Lebinh Ma, an optician at the New Look Lunetterie outlet on Ste. Catherine St., learned of the product shortage two weeks ago when she ran out of CIBA’s Clear Care solution.

    “They didn’t tell us how long before we would get more stock,” Ma said.

    The wait for more Clear Care and other CIBA-brand care products is likely until summer, according to company spokesperson Amanda Cancel.

    “Our best estimation is not until the middle of the year,” Cancel said from company headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. “We have a plan in place to figure out which market will get what product and when.”

    The problem arose in November when CIBA Vision Sterile Manufacturing in Mississauga issued a recall of its eye drops after a review of the production plant showed possible contamination by bacteria that could lead to eye infection.

    “As a precautionary measure, we stopped production of everything to inspect and clean the site so we can reassure consumers that all the products in our distribution channel meet all quality standards,” Cancel explained.

    Production didn’t resume until a few weeks ago.

    “It’s a disaster, I feel sorry for CIBA,” Jones said. “They really are in a bit of a bind, but that’s the problem with having one plant for everything.”



  19. im so glad i found this website. since the summer is coming up, i desperately need to get a hold of clear care again. stupid company. thanks! abby

  20. I too went to lots of stores to find my Aquify. A few years ago they quit make my other solution -Quick Care. After much searching I found Aquify which is great stuff. Now it is off the market untl who knows when. I found a generic which I hope works, but haven’t tried it yet.
    If not for the blog I would have been totally in the dark. I agree that the company should have done bettter PR and warned all of us faithful users that there would be no supply for months. I do hope that they or someone else produces the same or similar product SOON.

  21. Clear Care is intermittently showing up on retailers’ shelves here in Colorado–in stock some days, out again the next. A suggestion is to try cvs.com. Now that Ciba realizes how many loyal users of Clear Care are out there, the geniuses will probably double the price. I’m sure the retailers are having some brutal behind the scenes discussions with Ciba. Since they are blowing off us end users, perhaps they’ll listen to Wal-mart, etc. Good luck all.

  22. I have been to every store in this county and the shelves are bare. Now my eye doctor has none on hand. What to do. I have even contacted my son in Utah and my daughter in San Diego. To no avail. I placed an order today with CVs for Aosept ( which I normally do not use), hopefully it will be in stock. First week in April was not true. My doctor says they don’t expect any sample kits from Ciba until August!!! They were told that the retailers would be stocked first. When will that be?? Sorry, I’m so frustrated.

  23. Thanks for this webpage. I had all but given up on the Ciba Vision products. They had just simply dissapeared from my store shelves. Asking the store led to no answers, so they were obviously just as in the dark as us consumers. Luckily, I had a large supply of Clear Care, so I haven’t run out of that, but what I miss most is their Software saline solution. Every other product I’ve tried (Baush& Lomb, Alcon) causes irritation when I first put my contacts in. I’m happy that hope is on the horizon, but I too can not believe how poorly this was handled. Do they think people would just blindly sit around and wait for products to return when we had NO idea whether they were even coming BACK???

  24. There *IS* an alternative product:

    AMO’s “Ultra Care” … Seems to be similar to CLearCare and/or AOSept.

    Same micro-filtered 3% hydrogen Peroxide, and purified H2O in a sterile solution
    but: sabilized w/ Na stannate, Na nitate & buffered w/ phospates
    and NO 0.85%NaCl [saline]

    UltraCare uses coated pills that you drop into THEIR “special” cup, that disolve, and release the NEUTRALIZER … Same 6 hour process time.

    Conclusion: Same peroxide effectiveness, but more and different additional chemicals, and since it’s not saline based, doing the final saline-rinse before inserting might be a good idea, and is what I (personally) do even with AOSept.

    Bottom Line: It’s a bit harder to find that the Ciba products WERE, [WalMart had it] and it’s about $2 MORE than AOSept per 12oz bottle, but you get a “special” cup and 36 neutralizer pills in each box, so after buying a $6 AOSpet cup each 3 months, it’s the same in the end.

    MY Opinion: I like the neutralizer disc, but if Ciba’s lack of information has you “Brand-Shopping” then Ultra Care *MAY* be a viable alternatve!

    Final, Personal comments: Ciba’s “Volentary Plant Shutdown” (per MIKE KING; The Montreal Gazette; February 9, 2006 ) prevented an FDA recall [which obviously would have been worse]
    Unfortunatly Ciba’s lack of information (or tight-lipped attitudes) are dispicable. [Tho, given all the law suits in the US, it is common and probably predictable. … but I STILL hate it!!!]
    “Factory upgrade” and/or “non-sterile lubricant” … Both fail most any “BS” test. [eg: Carl Sagan’s ‘Baloney Detection Kit’ provided in his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.]

  25. John W., thanks for the tip on UltraCare. Our local Wal-Mart had put a stack of preprinted cards where Ciba should have been, providing Ciba’s toll-free number and advising consumers to call to complain. This morning the cards were all gone, so either everyone is complaining or Wal-Mart has given up hope too.

  26. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this site!!! I noticed there was no Aosept to be found in any store near my home in Oregon about a month ago. I thought it was weird and wondered if the product had been discontinued. I left the next day for a trip to Arizona and found it in full stock in the stores there, so I bought some and forgot all about it.

    Last night I went to the store because my Arizona supply had run out and again could not find any. I checked 5 stores, asked around, and nothing. No one could tell me why this product had seemingly disappeared. Thank god I googled and found this site.

    Now I know I had not gone mad and have confirmation that the Aosept people are a bunch of tools. Too bad I love their product and will be stocking up once it is back on the shelves.

  27. I know a Novartis insider and tried to get some through their company store. Apparently they are not expecting any until June as they give preference to retailers. I guess what’s happening is that when one of us devotees finally finds it, we are panicking and cleaning out the entire supply for ourselves. Let’s all play nice until there’s plenty to go around for all, ok?

  28. I live in Pittsburgh and the shelves have been empty of Clear Care for about a month now. My husband uses it and is very disappointed that he cannot find any. I’ve checked every drug store, Target, Walmart etc. around and still have not been able to find any.

  29. The shelves in Scottsdale, Ariz. have been bare since early March and now with the Bausch & Lomb recall on Renu, there’s even less of a selection. I’ve been using Walgreen’s store brand no rub solution for 2 weeks now. So far, so good.

  30. CNBC’s 7pm ET business news program “On the Money” airing report on Renu & the Ciba lens care product shortage TONIGHT (Friday, April 21.) Set to air between 7pm and 7:30pm ET.

  31. Thanks Steph about the TV program this evening.
    I went to my ophthalmologist yesterday. I’m in NYC and I was in San Diego last week and couldn’t find any AoSept or Quick Care anywhere.
    My ophthalmologist advice in the case of Quick Care which is no longer made, is to follow the AoSept regiment minus the overnight soaking. Let’s say I don’t wear the ctc. lens over the weekend: I would then use Mira Flow (3 drops) followed by rinsing with Softwear Saline and storing in the screw-top container with saline solution. On the night before I want to use the ctc. lens, say, on a Sunday night, I am to remove the ctc. lens from the container and go to step 1,2 and 3 of the AoSept regimen. Clean w/ Miraflow, rinse with saline, store and desinfect in the vial with disk container. On Monday morning, insert in eye after rinsing with saline solution.
    Hope this helps out.

  32. Is there anyplace (online or in a store) where I can buy contact lens cleaning solutions in bulk, so I can save some money?

  33. Wall Street Journal ran an article about the shortage just now, if anyone has access.

  34. See http://www.us.cibavision.com/lens_care/lens_care_update.shtml. CibaVision finally (sort of) admits that there was a problem. They claim product is on the way.

  35. We’ve been out here in Minnesota for almost two months, and I have found that Opti-Free Replenish works just as well for me in place of the AOSept and Clear Care. I even have continued to use the same AOCups. Like Darryl, though, I am looking forward to the return of the saline, because I have found nothing else yet that doesn’t sting my eyes. CIBA is losing shelf space in our Target/Wal-Mart/ShopKo stores, too. Unfortunately for Ciba, I now know that I can buy something in place of my Clear Care, and I will now coupon and sale shop for the best price rather than just pay for AOSept.

    Good luck all!

  36. When I first couldn’t find Pure Eyes, I asked the pharmacist who said there was a distribution problem. My eye doctor (I was about the 100th caller) found out from Ciba that I should substitute Clear Care, which is what Ciba’s website recommended. As noted in previous messages, that product is also unavailable. The casual comment by Ciba to try another (competitor’s) product was inane.
    We’re talking about a health care product, upon which many of us depend. It’s not like some favorite eye shadow. The irresponsibility amazes me, and I’m surprised it’s just now hitting the media.

  37. If anyone is interested I have Clear Care, Mira flow and Aosept on my Ebay Store at gilliardscloset. Shipment is fast. I love this stuff it’s the only solution my eyes can handle.

  38. There is a great alternative to AOSept from Bausch & Lomb called EasySept. It’s the same peroxide-disc system. I’ve been using EasySpet since the AOSept shortage started and I can’t tell the difference between the two. EasySept is a European product and according to Bausch & Lomb is not shipped to the USA (very weird as the US market is in dire need of some competition).
    Although you can’t find EasySept in the stores, there are plenty of webstores that ship it from the UK to the US. Shipping isn’t usually cheap but it won’t be so bad if you buy bulk. Besides, there is no good alternative around.

    Here is one site I found that ships EasySept:

    Good Luck!

  39. It’s 3:30 PM MST time on April 26 in Scottsdale, Arizona….My wife has been to dozens of stores looking for Clear Care for me (Walmart, Taget, Sam Club, Walgreens, etc.) and nothing on any shelf as recently as yesterday afternoon. So much for returning to stores in early April as the message on the Ciba Vision phone system states.

    *** Seems to me that we could “help” the Ciba Vision Pr department to spread the word by e-mailing information (including portions of this blog) to our own local news outlets. ***

  40. I just sent the following message to all 5 television news outlets in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Feel free to copy/paste and send it to your local media outlets.

    “Ciba Vision (a Novartis Company) has been out of stock of some of its most popular products for many months and has not released any kind of statement. This story has run in the Wall Street Journal and other papers but has not made news here in AZ. As recently as today, customers and retailers all over the country don’t know what is going on and can not get honest answers. See all of the information at the link below.


    As a public service, please see what you can find out about this situation and run a story on it so that all of us Ciba Vision users can “see” what is going on!

    Thank you.

  41. I live in Melbourne, Australia and have the same problem here. No AOSept for weeks and I’ll run out of my last bottle in the next few days.

  42. Thanks for trying to shed some light on CibaVision’s problems. I thought I’d add my anecdote as to the hassle CibaVision’s silence caused. I knew nothing of the unavailability when I went up to Boston to run the Boston Marathon on Easter weekend. Before bed the night before the race I realized I forgot my solutions at home. I checked 2 CVSs and 2 Walgreens, before I got to one that had a cryptic “shortage” note taped to the shelf – at which point I gave up and tried something else. It was a bad night for me to be wasting time and energy and missing sleep (though I did o.k. in the marathon).

  43. I was able to order two boxes of Cibavision Clear Care on April 24th from cvs.com. I checked the website again today, but CVS has removed the item from its site. I don’t know if this means that Cibavision has started shipping products to their vendors, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out online!

  44. I was delighted to find your site since my husband has been baffled by the Clear Care disappearance for a couple of months. His eye care professional had no idea Clear Care was missing from store shelves! Anyway, they have been very kindly providing him with samples of Clear Care in the interim.

  45. Walgreens.com has Clear Care! I just ordered 6 bottles online. Good luck everyone!

  46. Softwear isn’t even listed on the CIBA website. Do you suppose they are discontinuing it? Even when the other products weren’t available, they were still listed on their website.

    FYI: Walgreen’s shipping is free if you order $50 or more. I didn’t order 6 bottles like Liz, but I ordered a few plus some other stuff I use regularly.

    Thanks Luke and Beth for this forum!

  47. As of May 1, Clear Care section at Target in Alpharetta, GA is still bare, as it has been for weeks. As of last week, no Clear Care at Costco, Kroger or Walgreens.

    I’m so glad to have found this blog; otherwise I’d have no clue what is going on!

  48. It is May 4, and there is no sign of Solocare Aqua in Canada. Walmart, Shoppers Drugmart, convenience stores, pharmacies: they are all empty. Does anyone know of a temporary alternative?

  49. I ordered Clear Care from CVS.com on 4/24, received message on 4/26 that is was backordered. Received confirmation on 5/3/06 that all 8 bottles had shipped (4 of us in our family use Clear Care – I’m not trying to hoard). Shipping is free if you order $49 or more.

  50. I did find a bottle of Clear Care at Walmart in Twin Falls, Idaho while on a road trip. They had 3, but I only bought one thinking I would leave some for the next poor person that was as desperate as me. But I have ordered Aosept from CVS.com which is on it’s way. They did not have Clear Care at that time. My question is – how do you use Aosept? I have no clue. Is it like Clearcare and you just fill the case with the metal disc and leave it for 6 hours? Does a case come with the solution? Do I have to use a special cleaner with it? I am allergic to anything with preservatives. I would appreciate any help!

  51. Thx for your article. Finaly I know why there is no SoleCare (as Clear Care is named in Germany) in stores. I hope it will be in stores soon.

  52. To Vickie and all the other wonderful posters who have found Aosept.
    I have used Aosept for years.
    Yes, Aosept will work with the same disc case, but it DOES not have a cleaner built in. Years ago I was told to use Miraflow cleaner(also preservative free), but that’s currently not available, so my eye doc suggested Pliagel (which is basically miraflow without the alcohol base), It’s not preservative free, but since you a rinsing it off the lenses with saline, it’s not as bad as some others that go directly in your eye. I haven’t had too many problems with it. I’m using Opti Free REPLENISH in the meantime (but use a separate cleaner) with a saline rinse prior to insertion. I did recently find ULTRACARE at my Walmart(south central PA) so I bought one box to see if I like it.

  53. Can anyone tell me about the CIBA vision Softwear Saline for sensitive eyes. I have looked everywhere for it. I can’t find out if it has been discontinued or if it is just “temporarily out of stock” like so many of their other products. Any information would be great. I have yet to find another product I like as well so any info on a REPLACEMENT would be helpful. Just a note-I use hard contacts, but I am allergic to all the chemicals in those solutions. My doctor recommended this one for myself and my mom as we were both on hard contacts but allergic to all the solutions for hard contacts.


    Thank you for your e-mail. We would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced in locating the SoftWear Saline. Due to a manufacturing upgrade of our manufacturing site, supplies of SoftWear Saline may be limited on retail shelves. We anticipate increased supplies of SoftWear to be available in June 2006.

    In the interim, we would suggest a preservative-free saline solution, which is typically available in aerosol cans at most retailers. We would recommend contacting your eye care professional for their recommendation of which saline would be best suited for your particular needs. Again, we would like to greatly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you again for contacting CIBA Vision.

    Kind regards,
    CIBA Vision Consultation Services

    So for those of you who are looking for the Softwear Saline it MAY be available in June. I’d expect later.

  55. I’m not addressing those who posted on this site in an effort to discuss why ClearCare wasn’t the shelves. This is directed to the “Graduate Observer” himself. I assume that if the blogger’s a grad student, he’s been made to read a little bit on post-structuralism, so we’ll agree that words signify… something, although not always what their author intends. This blog appears to have pretensions of having something or other to do with communications studies. I assume the blogger-scholar-observer is at the MA level, since his rather substantial bio doesn’t mention those 3 magic initials. I also suspect he’s either a fledgling TA, hopes to be one when he grows up, or has revived the format from an old undergraduate assignment, if one is to judge by his question about CIBA’s PR strategy:

    “I’m interested in your thoughts. Should they have been more communicative? Don’t they trust their consumers with information? Maybe they could have sent out a notice before the “manufacturing upgrade”? Maybe this is how they do business. I don’t like it. Turning a blind eye on your publics is never what I would suggest. Anyone choose to offer an opinion?” (Yes, yes, I know I’ve violated APA style for extended quotes. Unavoidable.)

    “Should they have been more communicative?” Whatever is the answer? “No! I DON’T think they should have been more communicative!!!” So maybe CIBA doesn’t “trust” its consumers—trust them to what? Are we talking about bringing legal action, leaking the information to drugstore.com, or just permanently switching brands? Or, Don’t worry, I’m stopping the line-by-line analysis. It’s a crappy rhetorical device.

    Back to biz. If the blogger chooses to push his role as a member of the academy along with that dubious glory goes the responsibility to keep up an appropriate level of discourse. One way to frame your questions might be to find something by or on Benoit and flip around until you find the inevitable chart of image restoration typology. Or bang the mortification thing hard, and discuss it in disguised Burkean terms. Or pull out some systems theory, if you prefer. Or something else from your graduate studies (versus observations). No need to quote terms or hammer theory, just use something—anything—to inform your questions. This is your discipline, not mine. It’s my cognate; I’m working part-time on a PhD in education at a commuter university, so I’m not coming from a lofty point of view here–academically, I know I’m working the fryer and they’re never gonna let me take orders at the counter. I know the teensy-tiniest bit about comm. My advisor went to school with the head of the department, a guy who’s among the top two or three in his speciality, and figured the prestige couldn’t hurt. There’s some pretension that it’s relevant because my research will involve a bit of discourse analysis, but I also chose it because (except for rhetoric) it involved far less work than my other choice, cognitive psych. Anyway, having done the minimal amount of work required to get an A in three 5000-6000 level (i.e., upper undergrad or entry masters’) classes, I know virtually nothing about it. You do, or should.

    Here’s why I’m so annoyed. Along with most of the world, I’ve long since grown impatient with blogs, or more precisely, with bloggers. Just because a technology is accessible enough for anyone who can toss one up to do so doesn’t mean they should. And yours is a prime illustration of blogger vanities. “Graduate Observations?” Oh, golly. Hey, ask yourself: what purpose do my words serve? What is my responsibility as a moderator? Would a colleague I admire bother to read this more than twice? Do I have reason to believe that anyone who doesn’t love me has set my blog up on his or her feed? If I applied to another graduate school, and the admissions committee read my blog, would I be in, or would I end up in the “maybe,” or perhaps the “Oh lord, we must have x number of grad students to keep our NCAA accreditation,” pile? Or, am I doing the equivalent of putting up a picture of my friends on my website, and throwing in tons of unrelated subject metacode so that it Googles high and everyone sees the funny face my best friend is making?

    I’m cranky. I want my bleeding ClearCare! But I’m not without a sense of irony; I know my post is sour and self-important (emphasis on self-important—so embarrassing, that, eh?). I wouldn’t want to sit next to my post on a flight to the West Coast. It’s impulsive and unpleasant, and reveals that my character is neither particularly serene or well-integrated. But, just as you can put up your observations regardless of how well you’ve thought them out, I have the same license to respond. And having done so for the first time, doubt I will ever respond to any blog again. Waste of time to participate when you don’t buy into the pretense that this is of much value.

    And it’s nice to see someone who hasn’t had life knock the hubris out of him. I got my first masters’ from a decently rated department at a genuinely excellent university, and they beat that kind of thing out of us during the departmental orientation by telling us that if we were really any good, we’d be in a program rated in the top 10 nationally, rather than in the top 20.

    Apologies for the inevitable errors from cutting and pasting text. I’m as lazy as I am vitriolic.

  56. Sorry–your bio does clearly state you’re in an MA program.

  57. Well, I for one found this informative as I was wondering why I couldn’t find my product. THis is the only page that told me so it saved me lots of gas from driving my vehicle around trying to find the stuff.

    As for the rest of your comments,sorry but I am no genius or nothin’ but I do appreciate the info contained on this here sight!

  58. I really appreciate your info here. A company called AMO makes a similar product to ClearCare. It’s called…”UltraCare”!! It doesn’t have the platinum disc to catalyze the H202, but it does have little tablets that do the trick. I’ve only been able to find it at Wal-Mart and Walgreen’s, neither of which I really like to shop, but it’s for my eyes, so I guess I’ll make do. Hope this helps some of you.

  59. For Vickie (May 4, 2006 )
    AOSept does not come with a container.
    You have to buy the container separately. (Which is why you see it on the shelves – for those of us who were hooked on AOSept years ago and never knew that ClearCare was similar and included a Cup & Disc inside the packaging!! – talk about a gimmick!)

    But you use it just like ClearCare – put it in there and wait 6 hrs.

    There was no AOSept or ClearCare at Walmart in Pensacola.

  60. CIBA Vision appears to be running at least a month behind its promise to supply stores with more Clearcare & Aosept by April. Here in Hawaii, I went searching this week for both products at Longs Drugs, Safeway, Star Market, and even Walmart, and I came up empty. My husband bought me some Aosept at Costco about a month ago, but I foolishly returned it because I generally use Clearcare. Should have kept it — I could sell it on Ebay for gold now…
    Has anyone seen CIBA products in stores yet this month?

  61. thanks to Carrie and Christie for the help on using Aosept. I have been all over town (again) looking for Miraflow and Pliagel. None! So I called my eye doctor and they said not to worry about using a cleaner, just put the contacts in the solution and leave them. All of the cleaners I looked at had preservatives in them. I have had such bad allergic reactions to preservatives that I won’t take the chance of using. No Clearcare or Aosept on our shelves yet in Olympia, Wa.

  62. I’m in NY and AOSept has slowly creeped back onto the shelves in Duane Reade. Rite Aid still didn’t have them last time I checked. I’m so mad at Ciba Vision for not warning the public about the shortage. Does anyone have any luck locating the Softwear Saline yet? I’m in dire need of some and I’m thinking of buying some generic brand saline in the meantime until it becomes available. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

  63. Because you care:

    Still no Clear Care or Softwear Saline in the SF East Bay in California. That whole promise to have product on the shelves by the second week of April? Total BS. Thanks guys, it looks like I’ll be sticking with the OptiFree Replenish!

    Good job with the bet on customer loyalty, geniuses. Your competition has made effing BANK off of this snafu.

  64. I am an optometrist who fits contact lenses in Santa Monica, CA. The availability of current contact lens care products has been an issue that many of us in the industry are concerned about. It prompted me write an article “All About Contact Lens Care Products” in which I give my thoughts and recommendations for contact lens care solutions. It can be found at the following URL:

  65. I really appreciated reading about this issue here. I thought I was imagining it when I couldn’t find Clear Care anywhere. I guess I had just stocked up at Costco before this happened because I am only just running out. I called CibaVsion and was shocked by the lack of information. I called a 2nd time and actually talked to a human being who appeared pretty unapolegetic and disinterested. (I still didn’t grasp what a big deal this was. She’d probably had a million calls like mine.) She said it was shipping to large retailers but that was all the detail she was willing to give me. Here in SF there is still none on the shelves. Thanks to this site I’m going to be looking for Ultra Care. I’ve used AOsept for at least 15 years and switched to ClearCare last year. I like the product but Cibavision has to know that if we find alternative we may never come back.

  66. I am so frustrated with all of this that I finally decided that on my next opthamologist visit (in June) I am going to ask my doctor what else I should consider using. I have used AoSept for at least 2 decades; it’s been so long that I can’t even remember the actual year that I started using it. But I cannot, absolutely CANNOT fathom that a company would think that this would be an appropriate way of conducting business. I am stunned. And I will take my business elsewhere as long I can possibly find an eyecare system that will even work almost as well as what I had been using with Aosept. As a chemistry/biology person I will actually say that I am curious about the enzymes present in some of the newer solutions anyway & how effectively they may remove protein build-up from the contacts. Also, I think the newer solutions may be better at maintaining the long-term moisture of the lens which the peroxide solution of Aosept is less likely to do. So, I kinda’ thank Aosept. They’ve pushed me over that edge to go ahead and try the new stuff!!

  67. I was so happy that I can find so much information about Ciba Vision AO Sept solution. My supply of Ciba Vision Saline Solution just ran out today. And I have gone to Target, Costco, RiteAid, and Walgreens to hunt for the Softwear Saline Solution and found out none available. Then from this site, I learn about the story behind this.

    I was panic and discomfort about empty shelves out there. I have been using their Contact lens Disinfectant System for 20 years after my optomertrist recommended to me.

    When I looked at Ciba Vision US site, they didn’t even mention anything about AO Sept nor Saline solution on their Product List.

    I search on the web and link to sites like amazon.com, drugstore.com and etc, all said “Product is not avaialble”

    I finally bid one Saline solution on ebay and it cost me $9.50 for a 12 oz and $5 shipping.

    From now until I recieve it, I guessed I will use tap water to rinse the lens after using my stock supply of AO sept to disinfect it overnight. Also, the AO sept that I am using give burning sensation every morning even I rinse it with Saline after 6 hours disinfection. I have to take the lens out and rinse my eyes with tap water, then rinse the lens again and put it back, it becomes ok.

    I hope the information about Saline will be back on self on June 2006 is true.

    Thank you for your attention

  68. This AOSept shortage is appalling. I have checked every Duane Reade & Riteaid store that I know of in Manhattan (NYC) and none of them have received any new shipments yet. What were they thinking when they didn’t take the time to alert the public properly?

    It would be nice and only proper if the Ciba Vision website gave us a real update as to when the solution will be back on the store shelves.

  69. By the way, the Walgreens site is taking pre-orders for a June 15th delivery date.

  70. I have been an AO Sept user for about 20 years and was also frustrated with the lack of supply for the past few months. I was surprised to find that my local Target had a number of bottles of AO Sept today, although Walmart and CVS were still out of stock.

  71. Hi –

    I live in Washington DC and spend weekends on the coast of DE. No Clear Care in mass retailers in either area since February!! I did find a couple of travel sizes in a small independent drug store in DE. Try small places that don’t get a lot of traffic or there is ample supply on eBay of whichever brand you like — just expect to pay quite a premium. Meanwhile, we’ll all hope for channel distro soon!1

    Agree with the host that the PR/Communication of this situation is really poor. As a marketer and MBA, I would strongly recommend that these folks consider sending free product to those loyal, frustrated consumers that are standing by them through this “upgrade.”

  72. For Tony
    Tap water is an okay replacement for a very temporary (one night or so) replacement. But my understanding is the the chlorine content can cause the contacts to dehydrate, oddly enough. You might be better off using a basic saline to store your contacts while you are waiting for replacement solution. I haven’t used Ciba Vision saline in years because you can actually buy great saline solutions that are thimersol-free (a mercury component that can be a real problem and has been removed from most salines now I think….check labels) and that are less expensive. I’m not trying to convert folks from Aosept but am just encouraging continued good eye care while waiting for Aosept to get it together..

  73. Someone up there wrote that you can substitute plain 3% hydrogen peroxide for AOSEPT, and claims to have a degree in biochemistry (which is somewhat worrying). 😛 She’s almost right though, AOSEPT is essentially something called “Phosphate Buffered Saline”, or PBS + 3% H2O2, with another ingredient or two in there I can’t quite recognize. You need to match the salt concentration in the contact lens and you need to buffer the peroxide solution. I have considered making it myself just by mixing sterile saline and hydrogen peroxide, but to get the concentrations right you would need 6% H2O2 (otherwise you’d get 1.5% in the final solution) and 2x saline, which I haven’t seen in stores. Plus, I’m not certain if most saline solutions are buffered strongly enough, but they probably are. Still, I’ve held off from trying this – I don’t trust drug store H2O2. 😀 (If there are any other lab dorks out there, did you ever realize that most contacts are just polyacrylamide? Makes me want to make my own mold and cast some contacts next time I’m pouring a gel.)

  74. Did you see the Ciba spokesman name was Sillay Lahr (Silly Liar?)

    FYI The “generic” topical H2O2 in drug stores is pretty spotty: to quote a good scientific paper “However, use of homemade hydrogen peroxide contact lens disinfectant is not recommended as it can contain stabilizers such as phosphoric acid, acetanilide, phenacetin, and sodium stanate” This paper discussed the ability of H2O2 contact lens solutions to kill the nasty amoeba that can cause blindness; its pretty intructional (http://aac.asm.org/cgi/content/full/45/7/2038)

    David is right about the buffered saline NOT in the topical H2O2 solutions; your lenses will shrivel up like potato chips with the different osmolality.

    A decent topical 3% H2O2 (with sodium stannate stabilizer, common in contact solutions) with a PBS tablet added (1 per 100ml, ~$28/100)) would yield a solution pretty darn close to the contact solutions for ~1/10 the price… but I wouldn’t recommend it…

    also Dave, the actual polymers are pretty varied and different that polyacrylamide, which is a neurotoxin and might blind you up better than viagra if monomer was present (it usually is)

    This “shortage” is oddly similar to the disappearance of Primatene mist a while back, it was selling on Ebay for 10X too

    Ted Michelini, Ph.D.
    Protein Biochemist

  75. Clear Care has reappeared at Nob Hill foods in the SF Bay Area- bought 2 big bottles.

  76. Found Clear Care at Rite Aid Woodside Plaza in Redwood City

  77. Went to Target in Woburn, MA yesterday, the 19th, and they had at least 25 boxes of Clear Care. I’d thought of trying UltraCare by AMO but it’s such a rip off at almost twice the price of Clear Care, which was $6.64 at Target. Still no signs of Aquify though. My mom uses that.

  78. Aquify at CVS now.

  79. My husband has been wearing contacts since the late 60’s. He has been using Clear Care for the past 4 months and thinks it is the best thing out there. He just told me today of the shortage and that he had gone to many CVC’s, Targets, and Publix markets. I decided to get on the phone and call around. I had begun reading this website and saw people had said that it was not at Walmart so I started with Walgreens. Starting with the closest and moving out. Here is what I found out. The first one I called said that they had one 2 pack at $15.99. I said hold it for me. I called another Walgreens and they said they had 2 – 2 packs same price so I asked then to hold them. I went to the first two stores and then asked the manager if he would call the next closest Walgreens and they had one two pack and one 12 oz. at $8.99. Then I drove to the three stores and picked up my supply. I did look at each store’s shelves and they were empty.. and all managers had to go in the stock room to get my product. The lady at one store said they were in the process of getting ready to put it on the shelf now that they can order it again. So my advice is, use your phone and ask to speak to the manager in the day time so you get the person who is up on what they can do about selling what they have in the backroom. Since I did not try this at other stores like CVC, etc. I do not know if it might be similar there. It is worth a try. I did hear the last manager I called say that he had been told to pull it from the shelf and had not heard that it was to go back out. So I did not drive to that store. He did say that he was the night manager and had not read all the latest flyers and therefore was not up on the status of CIBA products, so it may just have happened. In our area Walgreens are located about every mile or two, so once I located some at the three closest stores I went out and bought a 6 month supply for my husband. Hope that helps someone. I live in St Pete, FL

  80. I ordered Aosept last week on Walgreens.com and even thought they said they were back ordered and wouldn’t ship until 6/15 I received all seven bottles today. Happy Day!

  81. NO AOSept in my area of the Tri Cities, Washington (State). I usually buy my supplies ahead of time @ Costco (who appears to not be carrying it in our area any more — even despite the shortage). So much for my family giving me a hard time about “hoarding” my contact supplies. Who’s laughing now???!!! I have another bottle left, but am starting to panic thinking that we’re almost 2 months later than originally promised getting it back on the shelves. I hope that CIBA is working on it day and night…or I know that they will lose my business!!!

  82. Couple thoughts/points:

    1. Could this be a “New Coke / Old Coke” ploy from CIBA. After all, I believe they’re based in Georgia too, just like Big Red.

    2. Had to buy MiraFlow, another CIBA product not on any shelves for many weeks, on E-bay for $19 / bottle. Does anyone know if MiraFlow is being phased out?

    3. AO Sept is finally available in my local Target store.

  83. I was just at my eye doctor complaining about how the vial does’t last 3 months and it only last for 1 month. My eyes were stinging so bad and I had my contacts there for over 8 hours and the solution didn’t neutralize. I hope the new Clear Care will be more effective. I wasn’t happy and I had told my eye doctor my complaints.

    However, CIBA Vision should of notified their customers!!! This is bad PR! Shame on you guys. Not professional at all.

    All the best!

  84. Well, apparently there is no release date for the Softwear Saline yet. I am different than most users on here as I have hard contacts, but I am allergic to those products. My doc recommended the Softwear.Anyway, I have bought Boston stuff to soak them in overnight. Then have to wash them off with water and pure saline before I can put them in my eye. I still have some problems with build-up, but it seems to be working ok. CIBA vision may lose another customer if they don’t get the product on the shelf soon!

  85. I just order 6 bottles on walgreens.com and received an email that i’ll get another email when they ship. I’m not convinced that second email will arrive, but I’m hopeful. I’ve got about another 2 days left of the stash I was able to beg my eye doctor for.

    Thanks for this site. It’s been very informative.

  86. I have been a loyal Ciba customer since I was twelve, but if I could find any other product that worked for me, I’d drop them in a heartbeat. I can’t believe how incompetent they have been throughout this shortage. It has been at least 3 months since I’ve seen any product in any store I’ve been too in the DC area. Luckily I tend to buy a lot of solution at once, so I have had enough ClearCare until now, but I am down to my last bottle.

    I did manage to find SoftWear saline on Amazon.com. It is only $4.49 per bottle, and the shipping isn’t too bad (about $6.00 for 4 bottles). The product number is B0006M353G. They didn’t mention anything about a backorder, so I’m crossing my fingers.

  87. Oh, I just found an old twin-pack of 8oz AOSept bottles. It expired in 8/2005, but if anyone wants them, send me an email and I’ll mail them to you for free.

  88. Sorry, I thought my email address would post as well. It is judanna77@hotmail.com.

  89. Anna,

    I tried to order the Saline on Amazon 3 weeks ago, but I never received it. It took over two weeks for the supplier, Gristedes Supermarkets of NY, to contact me to tell me that they do not actually have any, and they informed me they would be taking it off the web. They said something about the FDA requiring Ciba Vision to stop production, so either they don’t know what’s going on either, or this is another cover-up on Ciba Vision’s part. Let us know if you are actually successful in ordering any! I really don’t want to wait until September (which, with Ciba Vision’s “history” will probably turn out to be as late as December)!

  90. I just checked walgreens.com & it says that Clear Care is in stock! Looks like AOcept is still on backorder though.

  91. hey, this seems like an equavalent, anyone’s checked this out?


  92. I’m so glad that SOMEONE answered my questions about the shortage. I have long resented CibaVision for having the nerve to sell its AoSept product for $8 when all it is is buffered hydrogen peroxide. They need some SERIOUS competition, especially after this current fiasco. I have been using their product since it was introduced, as I could not tolerate anything else on the market at the time. After I ran out of AoSept, I went to my local pharmacy to purchase some more. The store clerk didn’t know anything about a shortage, and told me that they would probably have some more in by next week. I didn’t buy anything else, and I toughed it out for the weekend, using only saline. I developed a very serious eye infection which had to be treated by my opthalmologist. I blame Ciba for not communicating with their retailers or their customers. Even if it is reintroduced, I plan to not purchase AoSept again. I am also considering speaking with a lawyer about the damages caused by the negligence of this company. Anyone else interested?

  93. William J, regarding MiraFlow. I noticed that I couldn’t find it in any stores for months and months. I called CibaVision in April and asked if it was being phased out. I was told they had to move the manufacturing plant and this caused a delay; therefore, MiraFlow was on backorder. The woman said it should be back in stores “in the summer”. I thought how STRANGE, how could it be on backorder???? I did a Google search and ran into this website. I had no idea everyone else has been experiencing these problems.

  94. Oops! J Williams, I just called Ciba Vision. Now Mira Flow won’t be in stores until November!!! They recommended a few other cleaners (which I’ve tried) but they just don’t work for me. I may have to purchase it from EBay as well. Take care.

  95. Thanks for the blog, I also was pretty confused as to why my stores were always out of CIBA!
    I found this notice today at http://www.medshopexpress.com about Softwear Saline:
    “This item is DISCONTINUED by the Manufacturer. We have included this information for your convenience. You may order a similar item by using the search field above.”
    I have no idea if it is truly discontinued or whether MedShopExpress ran out of patience with CIBA and the customer reactions they have had to handle due to the shortage.
    I was leery about using Bausch & Lomb products but needed a sensitive eye saline solution; their Genuine Sensitive Eyes brand is working for me. Good luck to everybody.

  96. In the SF Bay Area I found ClearCare at Target but no Aosept. Kmart had nothing. Both stores had empty spaces for the missing items. It wouldn’t surprise me if Aosept was being discontinued and Cibavision was being weaselly about telling us. Aosept not being found on the Cibavision website is a bad sign.

  97. Is it possible that CIBA’s crazy behavior might possibly have something to do with a huge decline in business (prior to this mess) due to the hundreds of thousands of contacts wearers getting laser surgery and no longer needing any CIBA products? …

  98. Forgot to mention .. I’ve not used CIBA’s Saline solution for many years. I also no longer use Lens Plus Saline anymore either. I use WalMart’s Equate in-house brand. Get this .. its $2.12 a can versus $4 – $6 for the other two brands! Have noticed not one negative side effect. If anything, I prefer their spraying mechanism versus the others.

  99. Went to Kmart today, still no AOsept !!!!!!!!!! This is insane.

  100. Found this site while looking for info on MiraFlow and recalls. Such a useful set of comments! Many thanks to all the contributors. After reading the comments here, I tried out ClearCare and what a wonderful product it is! All these years I have been using Alcon OptiFree, and feel like a fool for not having tried ClearCare earlier. After just 2 days of using it I feel my eyes are less irritated and less red under the eyelids. I am suspecting that the reason for my dry red eyes could well be the chemicals in the solution that I have been using this far. Not a single optometrist over 15 years suggest to me that I should consider something different to eliminate this possibility.

    Anyway, I came back to this site to provide some info. Here is a response I got from CibaVision regarding availability of MiraFlow yesterday:

    Hi Arun,

    Thank you for your e-mail. We would like to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced in locating the MiraFlow Daily Cleaner. Due to a manufacturing upgrade of our manufacturing site, supplies of MiraFlow may be limited on retail shelves. Due to the upgrade, unfortunately at this time we do not have an anticipated availability date for the MiraFlow daily cleaner.

    We would recommend contacting your eye care professional to determine which daily cleaner would be best suited for your particular needs and lenses in the interim. Again, we would like to greatly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you again for contacting CIBA Vision.

    Kind regards,
    CIBA Vision Consultation Services

    Also, found one bottle of ClearCare at a Target in Campbell, CA on Saturday. It was the last bottle! Hoping that they wil restock soon.

  101. I used to wear RENU but after what i saw on the news, i decided to switch brants. i went to buy a new solution and the lady at the drug store (shoppers) recommended AOsept, so i bought it. When I came home i was reading the instructions and it mentioned AOFLOW and Vision Saline. The 3 drugstores i went to didnt have either, just this AOSEPT, so i decided to by the life brand saline. So, what is AOFLOW, and do i really need it? I just thought the store ran out of the product, but clearly that isnt the case.

  102. All Target and Wal-Mart stores that I have been to in the SF Bay Area seem to have at least 6 bottles of Clear Care on the shelves. Too bad the Miraflow is still out. I will just keep using Palmolive Ultra…

  103. I spent two hours driving all over Union County, NJ tonight looking for Aosept. There was NO Aosept in Costco (my usual vendor), Target, CVS, Drug Fair, Walgreens, Pathmark or Kings.

  104. No Aosept at my Target or Costco still. I am using a bottle that expired last year. I may have to switch to Opti-Clean. My eye doctor told me to use preservative free saline solution in an aerosol – that is the only true way to have a preservative free saline. He said to soak the lenses 4 minutes before I put them in my eyes as that should prevent any irritation that I get. Any type of saline that claims to be preservative free has to be an aerosol to keep the air out or else it has preservatives. After this, I will buy the aerosole saline solution only but will continue to buy the disinfectant until a better product comes along. I am mad that Ciba Vision is less than honest with us.


  105. I have been using AOFlow for over 15 years. Even though I don’t use the rest of that line of products anymore, I continued to use AOFlow because it is highly superior to any other rub & rinse contact cleaner. It is much more concentrated than other cleaners and does a much better job cleaning and removing deposits. If anyone knows where it is still available online or in a major store chain, please let me know!

  106. I still don’t see any Ciba Vision Softwear Saline on the shelves. However, I just bought a Target Store Brand saline that has the same ingredients. I would imagine it will work fine. Also, I noticed Target (in Los Angeles) has restocked Bausch & Lomb Renu solution (without that MoistureLoc that might be causing the fungus) and Bausch & Lomb Sensitive Eyes Saline. For MiraFlow users, I have switched to Bausch & Lomb Sensitive Eyes Daily Cleaner. It is not as “thick” or viscous as the MiraFlow, and I use four or five drops of it versus two to three drops of the MiraFlow, but it cleans just fine and doesn’t sting if you accidently don’t rinse thoroughly enough, unlike the MiraFlow. This cleaner was not mentioned as having a possible fungus link. I bought it on Amazon. You have to buy three bottles at a time, but the price is reasonable, especially if you can take advantage of Amazon’s pricing discounts.

  107. Here in Lubbock Texas there is no Mira Flow to be found, at the eye doctor’s office, Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, United Supermarket, etc. Tried the Walgreens brand cleaner that is milky white and it did not work at all. Bought a bottle of MiraFlow on eBay. Hopefully by the time I run out Mira Flow will be back in stores.

  108. Okay I thought easysept was an ordinary multi purpose solution when I was at my friends, some got in my eye, and now its huge and red and puffy. What should I do and will anything bad happen. I washed it out with water

  109. I’ve found Clearcare and Aosept at a Target in the Bayarea. I hope that Costco will eventually get Aosept back on the shelves.

    Me- Your eye should be fine. I have accidentally used Aosept instead of saline to rinse my lenses before I put them in my eye several times. It really hurt. Rinse with lots of saline and it should be better in 24 hours. If not, contact your eye guy.

  110. Does anyone know anything about Aquify Comfort Drops, haven’t seen them at all for months and I’ve run out. Can no longer find them on any websites. This whole thing is just incredible!

  111. Laurie:

    Let me know if the Target saline says “not disinfectant. So far all the Saline’s that I have found aren’t. Therefore, they don’t clean. I use hard contacts and used CIBA vision saline for years because it DOES disinfect. I am allergic to all the stuff for hard contacts. So now I have to soak them in a hard contact disinfectant-then I have to rinse them off really well with water and saline before I can put them in my eyes. Sure hope this comes back on the market soon!

  112. Rach: The ingredients are slightly different. The Target brand says “boric acid, sodium borate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, preserved with polyaminopropyl biguanide and edetate disodium”. Cibavision says “boric acid, sodium borate and sodium perborate (generating hydrogen peroxide stabilized with phosphoric acid)”. The Target Brand says it can be used for “Heat (thermal) disinfection, chemical disinfection, including hydrogen peroxide systems and with enzymatic cleaning tablets”. It doesn’t specifically say anywhere on the bottle that it is or is not a disinfectant. Hope that helps.

  113. Hello, I use aosept and found it coming back into the Ohio area. If any need any other items I have all Ciba Products on my ebay account. Gilliardscloset. Thank you.

  114. My Costco had about 20 bottles of ClearCare. 12oz size for 6.99. Looks like the beginning of the end of the shortage.

  115. In Seattle, I’ve found Clear Care at Bartell’s in the University District and Walgreen’s on Capitol Hill.

    I was so overjoyed I purchased six month’s worth of it.

    What a disgrace this has been! Shame on Ciba Vision for not informing us.

  116. Hello, I just got off the phone with the manufacturing plant in Georgia. The representative was very friendly and apologetic. She says that Softwear Saline WILL NOT BE BACKK ON THE SHELVES UNTIL JANUARY 2007!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!! Has anyone seen what they are charging on Ebay? $100 for 4 bottles. This is crazy. Good luck to everyone. Blessings, Genia

  117. First the Clear Care, now the Saline. Who’s running this company??

    Ciba Saline was the only one (so far) that doesn’t sting. Anyone know of similar ingredients in other brands?

    I think we should all get laser correction and put Ciba out of business for good!


  118. Michael,

    I switched to Unisol 4 when Software Saline became unavailable and I have had NO problems with that. Hope you can find it and that it works the same for you!


  119. I just tried CVS sterile saline and it is just as good. saying goodby to ciba and their hassles… good luck all 😉

  120. hi does any one know when mira flow will be back for sure ? is there any others products out there that you would compare to mira flow ? that are thick and good cleaners like mira ? please help me some one please, in downtown denver Colorado.

  121. hi every one, i just now talked to the ciba vision peeps and the lady said to just use Pliagel until Mira Flow is back in Novermber. They said that it is a good thick cleaner like Mira Flow.

  122. Don’t sweat the shortage of Ciba SALINE. This is the one product I can easily find suitable substitutes. I mentioned it before, but try the Wal-Mart brand – Equate. Works great and is less than $2.50 / can. I much prefer the can, by the way, over the plastic bottles.

    MiraFlow is not back until November, huh? Wouldn’t you know it .. my supply will probably run out just before that. Uh oh.

    Good news is that AOSept seems to be back on the shelves of all our area stores (Target, ShopKo, K-Mart).

  123. ciba softwear saline and miraflow is being sold on ebay.

  124. Clear care and Aosept now both unavailable in my area again. They were restocked in june and july, now in september, none available. (Upstate NY area). Any idea if manufacturing problems again?

  125. I completely gave up on Aosept. I had been using it for 16 years before it vanished from the shelves. I started using the AMO Ultracare and actually like it better because I can enzyme in one step while disinfecting. Ciba handled that horribly and you still can’t find Aosept on a regular basis. I used the Miraflow cleaner too. They lost my business for good.

  126. I have found a good alternative saline solution to be Bausch & Lomb’s “Sensitive Eyes Plus”. All the generic, store brand salines that I’ve tried have caused my eyes to sting. The B&L feels the closest to the Softwear Saline that I used to use.

  127. Gregory…I agree w/ you on the saline. I could never use anything but the Ciba softwear saline for 18 years…with all of this mess about not being able to find the product i had to find something else. The Bausch & lomb gentle sensitive eyes plus worked for me.. No stinging…. I would love to switch to another product so that I never have to deal with this type of situation again. And the folks that are profiting on ebay….shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  128. This gets all the more interesting. As an AOSept user for years, I went through the agony of finding something else to use when I couldn’t get the product. Luckily my optomotrist had some samples that she gave me.

    Now I’m finding that they are experiencing a delay in contact lens production? My son’s lenses have been on order for over 2 weeks. They are now saying it will be another two weeks before they will be shipped? And his are a very common prescription, what should be a stock item.

    Any info on their contact lens production? Any issues?

  129. AOSept is quite abundant here in Iowa now, but I still can’t get Softwear saline. I tried the B&L Sensitive Eyes stuff, but it burned my eyes. I’ve been using Target’s sensitive eyes formula for about six months now and find it to be every bit as good as Softwear. And cheaper to boot.

    As for daily cleaner – I used Pliagel for years, but haven’t been able to get it here locally for about a year. I absolutely hate Miraflow, so I tried out B&L’s Sensitive Eyes cleaner and absolutely love it!

    Oh and as so many other posters have noted: Ciba’s handling of this entire matter sucks! No press releases, no information given to retailers and eye care professionals. Who runs a company like that?

  130. we had problems with our lenses as well, we finally found a nice inventory of softwear which we have for our kids and the rest we have on gilliardscloset on ebay if you choose. we’re happy to share.

  131. Shame on you ebayers like anthony. Greed is awful.. you’re getting a huge profit. Hopefully folks will find a comparable product like the one i mentiond above so that your profits deminish. God Bless you…..:(

  132. Hello all Aosept users–sorry to be gone so long–my family and I have recently relocated to North Carolina. Vicky–sorry to hear your about your allergice reactions to preservatives in cleaners even if they are rinsed off. Nice to know there are other sensitive eyes out there beside mine. I have recently switched to Acuvue Oasys contacts and know am using Aquify multi-purpose solution and AMO blink drops. I was a little wary since I’m usually allergice to all multi-purpose solutions, but it seems like Aquify and Oasys contacts were just meant for another. I still use Aosept 5 days a week, but I take ballet classes two nights and on those nights I take my contacts out midday and soak them and I needed something that worked quicker than 6 hours. To those who have found Target Sensitive Eyes Saline–I agree with you–great stuff!!! The Blink Drops have a disappearing preservative and work pretty well. But with the Aosept because it is hydrogen peroxide I found my lenses drying by midday. For some reason my eyes like the Aquify better. So I guess if I have know allergic reaction (so far so good–I usually know in an hour or so and it’s been two days and I have almost FORGOTTEN to take the lenses out they felt so good). Guess it is a solution/lens combo that really works.

  133. This December 2006, I switched to Opti-free Replenish solution (new bottle). Then one day soon after I put my contacts in (disposable Acuvue for years, same brand), I had a stinging feeling and it grew worse. The pain went away within a few seconds; but, my eyes went VERY bloodshot and never cleared up. I went for a week just wearing my glasses, and my eyes seemed to be better, seemed. But the day after I wore my contacts using Opti-free Replenish (same bottle), came that redness. I went for an ophthalmological exam and was diagnosed with epidemic keratoconjunctivitis – viral. I can’t wear contacts for 5 weeks up to 3 months of treatment, prescribed drops up to four times a day – then, tapers off in the following weeks. The infection can be reoccuring. Sounds ugly and this case seems different as “pink eye” one should see the results in 4 days – that’s the end of that. The MD suggested that I shook some guy’s hand who had the virus. I read other sites who people complained of the same problems using Opti-free Replenish. Have you heard anyone else (from my research online) complain about this solution? Have you taken your solution from ALCON laboratories to a testing lab for 100 percent findings? I am in a bind as my work requires contacts.

    Sonya Rose


  134. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with the OPTIFREE product. For those who can use it, it works great. There have been several Papers published on “O.I.N.K.” Optifree Induced Nonspecific Keratitis. This represents a Viral like corneal presentation on the corneal surface. But lacks the follicular response in the lids and/or Pre-Auricular + sometimes Sub-Mandibular Lymph Adenopathy (Swollen lymph nodes). If you had a mild BLAHH feeling almost like getting a cold. Then it was Viral. If however you were experiencing a progressive inflamation, grittiness, dryness, redness sequence of symptoms then you may have had “O.I.N.K.”

    I have the MIRAFLOW PRODUCT exp. 05/08. Ciba is making and has made available to Eye Doctors to sell to their patients MiraFlow Extra Strength Daily Cleaner.

  135. I also have been using Target’s softwear saline. However it isn’t a disinfectant like the Ciba softwear saline. Different from others here, I use hard contacts. However, I can’t use the products made for them( I am allergic to them). I have come up with a system that works, but I have to use two products now. I soak them in a Target hard contact disinfectant solution over night…then rinse them very well with water…then add the saline and pop them in. It was so much easier and cheaper with the Ciba stuff. But with the mess they have created not sure I want to depend on them again. My mom purchased some on e-bay, but she doesn’t wear her contacts all the time so hers will last. I refuse to pay $10.00 or more for a $3.00 item! So I use my own system…seems to be working well.

  136. BTW, all other salines that I have checked say right on them ” not a disinfectant” therefore they aren’t exactly the same as the Softwear Saline by Ciba.

  137. Just wanted to let you all know that http://www.drugstore.com is selling Miraflow again! Yay! I just ordered some last night.

  138. Softwear saline is available again at CVS in North Billerica, MA!

  139. Ciba Vision Softwear Saline is now available online at Walgreens.com. It is also available at some Walgreens stores. I was told by the company that they have shipped them out to Walgreens and CVS. If your store doesn’t have it–check out the web.


  141. Where has all the sterile saline solution gone? I can not find equate, lens plus or ciba vision in a can. All of the solutions in plastic bottles make my eyes turn red and itch! Do I have to give up wearing contact lenses. Yes, I know there is Blairex which cost way to much for my pocketbook.

  142. I think I’ve been gone for a while. What happened to AOSept? Is it still available or has it been discontinued already?

  143. Ciba Softwear Saline has been available at CVS and drugstore.com for the past few years (the only saline I can use), but it started to disappear from CVS shelves in the past few months. I contacted Ciba last week, and they now inform me this product is being discontinued due to low consumer demand. They sent me 2 bottles as a goodwill gesture. I am so sick of this company

  144. I have used ciba vision softwear saline solution for years and now not able to get it… I have tried others and my eyes are very sensitive. They knows it not the real thing and I am on my last bottle. If they continue this then what in the world am I going to use that is equivalent to it.

  145. I’m an unhappy employee who works at Ciba Vision where they manufacture the contact solution. Any questions?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s