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The Clear Care Contact Solution Shortage: The Reasons

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clear care contact solution shortage

Clear Care is one of the most popular hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens disinfecting solutions on the market. However, many contact lens wearers have been struggling to find Clear Care and other hydrogen peroxide solutions in stores or online for several months.

This article will examine the reasons behind the Clear Care shortage, when the shortage could end, and how contact lens wearers can cope.

What is Clear Care?

Clear Care is a contact lens disinfecting solution made by Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis. It uses 3% hydrogen peroxide to thoroughly clean and disinfect soft contact lenses. The solution neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, making lenses safe to wear again.

Clear Care offers superior disinfecting capabilities compared to other multipurpose solutions. It’s able to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria. For many contact lens wearers, Clear Care is essential to their daily lens care routine.

Hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens disinfecting solutions
Hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens disinfecting solutions

Why is There a Shortage of Clear Care?

There are a few key factors behind the current shortage of Clear Care and other hydrogen peroxide contact lens solutions:

Supply Chain Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted global supply chains. Shortages of raw materials, packaging supplies, transportation, and labor have made it difficult for companies to produce consumer goods at regular levels. These ongoing supply chain problems have impacted the availability of Clear Care.

Increased Demand

During the pandemic, more people began wearing contact lenses instead of glasses to avoid fogged lenses with face masks. Teenagers unable to get driver’s licenses relied on contacts over glasses. This boosted the demand for contact lens disinfecting solutions.

Manufacturing Delays

Alcon temporarily closed a Clear Care manufacturing facility in 2021 after an operational issue. This decreased supply right when demand rose. Since reopening the plant, the company has struggled to scale up production to normal levels.

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Impacts of the Clear Care Shortage

The Clear Care shortage is creating noticeable effects for contact lens wearers:

Difficulty Finding Clear Care

Consumers have difficulty locating Clear Care or other hydrogen peroxide solutions in stores. Retailers frequently face out-of-stock situations. Online sellers are often backordered for weeks or months. Finding Clear Care requires persistence and luck.

Rising Prices

With low supply and high demand, the prices of Clear Care and similar products have surged. Resellers on Amazon and eBay are charging 2-3 times the regular cost of Clear Care. Even at major retailers, prices are up. This financial burden makes proper lens care difficult for some.

Turning to Alternatives

Unable to find Clear Care, some contact lens users are substituting multipurpose solutions that may not disinfect as thoroughly. Others switch to daily disposable lenses to avoid the need for hydrogen peroxide. But these options don’t work for all wearers, compromising eye health.

When Will the Shortage End?

It’s unclear exactly when supply will catch up to demand. But there are some promising signs:

Efforts to Ramp Up Production

Alcon says it’s made major investments to increase production capacity at its Clear Care manufacturing facilities. Other hydrogen peroxide solution makers are also trying to make more. These efforts should boost supply.

Potential Timeline

Industry analysts estimate the shortage could persist through mid-2023 based on how long production increases normally take. However, the supply gap might close sooner if production growth outpaces projections.

Coping with the Shortage

Until the shortage is resolved, here are some tips for managing:

Clear Care Contact Solution alternative
Clear Care Contact Solution alternative

Trying Other Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions

Looking for store brands or other brands like RevitaLens OcuTec that make hydrogen peroxide solutions can increase the chances of finding some in stock. You may have to compromise on formula preferences.

Extending Use of Existing Supply

Avoid wasting any Clear Care or hydrogen peroxide solution you have. Disinfect lenses every other day if your supply is limited. Monitor bottle levels closely.

Seeking Alternatives from Eye Doctors

Ask your optometrist if they have any hydrogen peroxide solution samples in stock. Explain the shortage situation and that you need an alternative disinfecting method.

The Future of Clear Care

To prevent shortages from now on, Alcon and other producers should:

Increase Production Capacity

Expanding manufacturing capabilities and facilities will ensure enough supply to meet demand. This may require significant capital investment. But it will make shortfalls less likely.

Diversify Supply Chain

Relying solely on a few plants makes supply highly vulnerable to disruptions. Having a more distributed supply chain across regions improves resilience.

Develop Improved Formulations

Creating solutions that work at lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide could ease constraints on raw materials. Advancing disinfecting techniques will also help.

The Clear Care shortage shows the importance of supply chain management and demand forecasting for manufacturers. Hopefully, companies will learn from this experience and prevent future shortfalls. In the meantime, contact lens wearers must remain adaptable and patient until supply normalizes.

With diligence and care, we can get through these challenges together.

Conclusion

The Clear Care contact solutions shortage demonstrates how interconnected modern supply chains have become. A facility closure, surge in demand, and raw material constraints together spiraled into an extensive shortage. While the shortage has made proper contact lens care difficult for many wearers, boosting production and diversifying sources can prevent future shortfalls.

In a complex global economy, companies must actively safeguard supply continuity. With perseverance, contact lens users can weather the Clear Care shortage until manufacturing ramps up and availability improves.

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FAQs

Q: Are other hydrogen peroxide solutions also affected by the shortage?

A: Yes, other brands like RevitaLens OcuTec and Equate Hydrogen Peroxide Solution are facing low stock as well. The entire hydrogen peroxide segment is constrained.

Q: How long does one bottle of Clear Care solution last?

A: Typically, one 12 oz bottle of Clear Care can disinfect a set of contact lenses for around 3 months with daily use. Results vary based on the number of lenses worn.

Q: Can you disinfect lenses with regular 3% hydrogen peroxide?

A: No, hydrogen peroxide solutions for contact lenses are specially formulated for safe use with eyes. Household hydrogen peroxide should never be used.

Q: Does Clear Care work for both soft and rigid gas-permeable lenses?

A: Clear Care can only be used to disinfect soft lenses. Rigid gas permeable lenses require separate hydrogen peroxide cleaning solutions.

Q: Are there any risks to using an expired Clear Care solution?

A: Expired Clear Care is not recommended, as the disinfecting effectiveness may be reduced. It’s best to discard and replace any expired solution.

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